Transport for London (TfL) has today advised drivers that the Blackwall Tunnel will be closed to southbound traffic for five weekends in January and February to help support works to the northbound carriageway on the northbound Blackwall Tunnel approach.
The works, which are required to implement the road configuration for the new Silvertown Tunnel which will open in 2025, will see new drainage as well as new over-height vehicle gantries installed, which are necessary to protect the tunnel.
The Silvertown Tunnel will provide a public transport-focused river crossing with zero-emission bus links across the Thames. Once open in 2025, the crossing, which is within the Ultra-Low Emission Zone and will be subject to a user charge, will also reduce congestion and improve the reliability and resilience of the Blackwall Tunnel, which will improve overall air quality in the local area.
The closures will take place across the weekends of 13-15 January, 20-22 January, 27-29 January (a contingency weekend if either of the previous two weekends are not possible),10-12 February and 24-26 February, starting at 00:01 on the Saturday morning and being reopened by 05:00 on the Monday morning at the latest.
Across the weekends, the Blackwall Tunnel will be closed for southbound traffic and drivers will need to take alternative routes. Northbound traffic will not be affected by these closures as traffic will be diverted through the southbound Blackwall Tunnel.
However, there will be no access to Tunnel Avenue from the A102 at Pear Island across the weekend due to the works. The northbound on-slip on Blackwall Lane will also be closed and a signed diversion via the Woolwich Flyover roundabout will be in place.
Drivers are advised to plan their routes in advance, checking before they travel so they can consider any other potential traffic impacts or restrictions, such as the height and weight limits at Rotherhithe Tunnel and Tower Bridge, both of which are outside the Congestion Charge zone.
During the weekend of the 24-26 February, northbound traffic will also be diverted from the A102 via Millennium Way to the Blackwall tunnel entrance from 22:00 until 08:00 to allow for additional works to install new gantries across all lanes of the A102.
Drivers of HGVs, as well as vans more than two metres in height or weighing more than two tonnes, are advised to consider routes away from central London across the weekend where possible. To help inform drivers, additional variable messaging signs will be placed on the main roads approaching the Blackwall Tunnel.
TfL has also worked with third party app providers, such as Waze, to help ensure drivers who regularly use the Blackwall Tunnel are alerted to the southbound closure and that the closure is shown in any route-planning over the weekend. TfL will also take the opportunity to carry out works within and around the tunnel, to help deliver future maintenance work more efficiently and ensure the tunnel can continue to safely operate.
Carl Eddleston, Director of Network Management and Resilience at TfL, said: “The Blackwall Tunnel is used by tens of thousands of vehicles every day and we appreciate that these planned weekend works will have an impact on some drivers.
“With less than 18 months until the new Silvertown Tunnel opens, we are working with Riverlinx CJV to prepare the northbound carriageway, and have worked hard to try and limit the potential disruption these will cause, such as ensuring a northbound route can be maintained throughout these closures.”
The route 108, the only bus route that operates through the Blackwall Tunnel, will be split in two, operating between both Lewisham and North Greenwich and between Canning Town and Stratford. Customers are advised to then change onto the Jubilee line to cross the river to complete their journeys.
TfL will also ensure that customers of the route 108 who then use the Jubilee line as part of their journey over the weekend will avoid being charged for the Tube section of their journey via an automatic refund which will be processed after the weekend.
The Mayor’s Hopper fare will also mean that customers won’t be charged for any additional bus journeys on the other side of the river, providing they begin within an hour of touching in on the first bus. From 00:01 on the Monday mornings of the closure, northbound buses will return to their normal route and southbound buses will be diverted via Tower Bridge until the tunnel is re-opened to southbound traffic.
Work on delivering the new Silvertown Tunnel, which will open in 2025, continues to progress. Both of the 1.1km tunnels have now been fully tunnelled and the ‘cut and cover’ sections are now in advanced stages of being covered.
Throughout 2024 work will continue to install the safety critical systems within the tunnel, as well as complete work on the tunnel portals. Work is also progressing on the new road layout around Tidal Basin Roundabout in Newham, including new walking and cycling paths to make it easier for people accessing the Royal Docks via the Lower Lea Crossing.