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Thames cable-car crossing proposed

A cable car emerged as the preferred option to replace the controversial Thames Gateway Crossing, in a report commissioned by Transport for London (TfL) released this week.

The Thames Gateway Crossing is a proposed six-lane road bridge, between Beckton and Thamesmead in the east of London. The proposal is being re-examined after a planning inquiry ruled in July last year that more evidence was needed to demonstrate the regeneration benefits the bridge would bring.

The report by the Greater London Authority Green Group looks at river crossing alternatives for the Beckton/Thamesmead location.

"Transport for London is considering ways of enhancing public transport on the Thames Gateway Bridge in response to the inspectors report. We will consider the contents of the Green Group report as part of this work", said a TfL spokesman.

The Green Group report urges TfL to reconsider its predicted traffic data in view of the possibility of accelerated carbon and traffic reduction programmes and also asks it to undertake a thorough review of public transport options as part of the inquiry.

As well as a cable car, the report considers ferries, a bridge dedicated to buses, pedestrians and bicycles and a covered pedestrian travellator bridge.

Pedestrian only options would require a realignment of bus services to provide connections to the crossings, while the cable car option could connect with existing transport hubs.

The cable car option came out top as it was cheap and quick to build, with a pre-Olympic opening possible. It would also have very low carbon emissions and could be a popular tourist attraction.
The initial proposals of the report cited 24 person capacity passenger cars able to transport 4,000 people per hour in each direction with an average speed of about 22km/h.

This is not the first time that cable cars have been proposed across the Thames. Greenwich Council granted planning permission in 1998 for a cable car crossing of the Thames along the Greenwich Meridian Line. The project was initiated by Capitol Projects and its sister company Meridian Cable Cars

"We do need to be looking at alternative means of transport," says Capitol Projects director, Harry Lawrence.

"If TfL picked up the phone, we'd be happy to discuss the project, we have a lot of background information and technical data."

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