TfL's Thames crossing plans
On 3rd December 2015, a new Transport for London (TfL) report set out plans for the number of River Thames crossings in London to substantially increase.
The report, Connecting the Capital, suggests that the number of tunnels and bridges could be increased by as much as a third, focusing in particular on crossings that are either proposed or already under construction between Fulham and Dartford.
With London’s population projected to grow from 8.6 million to 10 million by 2030, these 11 new crossings are seen as being a vital part of ensuring that the capital can cope with increased road, rail and pedestrian traffic. With the population growth mainly being focused in east London, the majority of the new crossings are in that region, with two new ferry crossings also proposed for Charlton and North Greenwich.
The potential river crossings identified in the TfL report are:
- Diamond Jubilee– a pedestrian and cycle bridge linking Fulham with Battersea (planning permission granted).
- Crossrail 2 – a new railway line connecting Hertfordshire and Surrey via central London and providing a new cross river link between Victoria and Clapham Junction (currently under TfL consultation).
- Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea – a pedestrian and cycle bridge linking Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea to Pimlico (feasibility).
- Garden Bridge – a new pedestrian crossing linking the South Bank to Temple station (planning permission granted).
- Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf – a pedestrian and cycle bridge (feasibility).
- Silvertown tunnel – a twin bore tunnel connecting Silvertown on the north side to the Blackwall Tunnel Approach on the south side (application for powers to construct under preparation).
- Crossrail– a new rail line linking Woolwich with Custom House and onward to Canary Wharf, central London and Heathrow Airport (under construction).
- Gallions Reach – a multi-modal crossing linking Thamesmead with Beckton along a safeguarded alignment (consultation now started).
- Barking Riverside to Thamesmead – a London Overground tunnel extension from Barking Riverside to Thamesmead (conceptual stage).
- Belvedere – a multi-modal crossing connecting Belvedere with Rainham (consultation now started).
- Lower Thames Crossing – new road crossing linking Essex and Kent (being progressed by Highways England).
The crossings at Gallions Reach that would link Thamesmead and Beckton, and Belvedere that would link Belvedere to Rainham, are now open to consultation. It has been stated that tolls will be in place to fund them, although the question as to whether the crossings will be bridges or tunnels has not yet been settled.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Building a series of new bridges and tunnels across the Thames is essential for the future prosperity of our rapidly-growing city. By creating more links between the north and south of the river, we won't just improve day-to-day travelling across the capital, we'll unlock areas for development and create thousands of jobs and homes. From Fulham in the west to Dartford in the east, this is a vital package of crossings that will drive economic growth and get more people walking, cycling and on to public transport.”
TfL planning director Richard de Cani said: “With the capital's population rising rapidly and more much-needed housing being built, crossing the river will become ever more important. New cross-river connections can unlock opportunities for local people and help transform an area, supporting regeneration and development. We must progress plans for this package of crossings if we are to support London's growth and galvanise the economic potential it presents.”
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