Gallions Reach and Belvedere River Crossings

Transport for London (TfL) have issued a public consultation on new Thames River crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere in East London. That’s in addition to the new tunnel at Blackwall which is already being progressed (the Silvertown tunnel). They might replace the Woolwich Ferry although the purchase of new ferry boats is planned so as to enable the ferry to continue into the 2020s. It might, of course, be a number of years before any new bridges or tunnels are actually built and come into use – that’s assuming they get through the complex planning processes on such projects and political support by the Mayor of London continues.

The public consultation gives some more information about the proposed new crossings – both bridges and tunnels are under consideration. They would of course support road vehicles including buses and also possibly cyclists and pedestrians (a token gesture perhaps as it would be a long walk). In addition they might support an extension of the DLR to Thamesmead which would be exceedingly useful for residents of that area as it would give them easy access to Canary Wharf and central London but would add substantially to the cost. Another alternative is a tram but that seems somewhat irrational as there is no tram network in the area and it is not clear why that would be even considered when buses are cheaper and more flexible.

Vehicle users would almost certainly be charged to use the bridges or tunnels. Traffic impacts would be variable depending on the roads concerned with heavier traffic on some local roads and lighter on others. But journey time reductions would be significant, e.g. 40 minutes less from Thamesmead to Barking, and 20 minutes less from Rainham to Erith.

The likely cost of these crossings is given as about £1 billion each, although the consultation web site is remarkably short on detail costings and other information.

However, to give your opinion on the proposals, please go to this web page: as soon as possible.

Roger Lawson

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