London mayor Boris Johnson has stunned the transport community by making a policy U-turn on the abandoned Thames Gateway Bridge (TGB) just east of the Blackwall Tunnel.
Johnson cancelled the bridge last year, saying he favoured a crossing at Silvertown further to the west. Both engineers and transport lobby groups were highly critical, saying the project had already attracted £200M in Department for Transport PFI credits and that work could have begun within eight months (NCE 13 November 2008).
Johnson has not given up on the Silvertown Crossing, but has also resurrected proposals for a new crossing at the site of the TGB, now renamed Gallions Crossing.
“Why have we had to wait over a year and throw away hundreds of millions worth of PFI credits for the TGB merely to have a new, very similar proposal in the same part of London?”
Len Duvall, Labour party
Labour’s leader on the London Assembly Len Duvall said: “If this ever gets off the ground and redresses the imbalance of river crossings between east and west London then great. But why have we had to wait over a year and throw away hundreds of millions worth of PFI credits for the TGB merely to have a new, very similar proposal in the same part of London? It shows poor leadership and even worse judgement.”
According to Campaign for Better Transport London campaigner Richard Bourn: “The TGB was in exactly the same place [as the Gallions Crossing] to provide a continuation of the north circular road. They are in a muddle it seems.”
Some funding has been allocated for the Gallions Crossing, which would initially be a ferry, then upgraded to a fixed link, most likely a bridge, but there is no completion date mentioned even post-2018, when London’s current spending plan expires.