Johnson promises Thames tunnel in 10 years


London mayor Boris Johnson has promised that a new road traffic tunnel will be constructed under the Thames within the next decade.

The proposed tunnel will run in east London between Greenwich peninsula and Silvertown in the Royal Docks. It is hoped that its introduction will lighten the load on the existing crossings at Blackwall and Rotherhithe towards the west.

Johnson will present the plans to senior London government figures on Thursday evening as part of a transport investment package to assist growth in the capital. It is thought that at full capacity the tunnel could cater for 2,400 vehicles every hour in both directions.

He will also reveal at the meeting that the planned ferry crossing between Beckton and Thamesmead at Gallions Reach will be open to the public in around five years’ time. Meanwhile, Transport for London (TFL) is also making good progress with extensions to the London Underground, which will see it served by the Tube for the first time.

“When I look at London, I see a city of incredible potential and tonight I will make the case for a huge new phase of investment in the capital, including a major new river crossing east of Tower Bridge,” he said.

“We are in the right time zone, speak the right language and have the young, skilled population to continue to attract investment from the world’s greatest businesses. This is not a time for London to falter it is a time for London to flourish.”

Preliminary consultation work on the Silvertown Tunnel is being tentatively pencilled in for February. The TFL has previously highlighted how the transport improvements will help to “support ambitious plans to create new communities, job opportunities and housing”, the Huffington Post reported.

The tunnel has been talked about as a solution to congestion difficulties in the Blackwall and Rotherhithe tunnels since around 2005. Both of these existing tunnels were built more than a century ago and they were not designed with modern traffic volumes in mind. In fact when Rotherhithe was first introduced a series of near right-angled turns were included to prevent horse seeing daylight and bolting for the exit.