TfL and Silvertown Tunnel – is the spin credible?

TfL are on the offensive today over Silvertown Tunnel plans as they announce a contractor and claim it will “effectively” eliminate congestion and slash air pollution.

Many who have followed plans may be spluttering into their dinner hearing that.

Reducing pollution? Perhaps – though that’s simply a result of a move from diesel to hybrids and electric, which is likely to happen in coming years and decades anyway.

Blackwall approach

But congestion? Let’s look at what is planned.

There is no change planned to the A2 south of the Thames. Every single day from 3pm congestion builds up from around Eltham towards Sun in the Sands roundabout. That’s with one tunnel’s worth of traffic feeding into this road below:.

Courtesy Google. Current approach and exit roads will not be altered

Add a second tunnel directly next to Blackwall feeding the very same road southbound and can we expect a reduction in congestion?

You’ll note when it comes to claims of traffic reduction the northbound morning queues from Greenwich to Kidbooke are usually the only ones mentioned and not the southbound afternoon jams. The tunnel does nothing for that.

Then we have the question of whether the northbound AM queues will even be alleviated. The new tunnel will induce traffic – particularly lorries currently barred from Blackwall Tunnel.

Numerous traffic signals are planned

The new tunnel also has numerous traffic lights immediately at the northern exit in the Royal Docks unlike the Blackwall Tunnel. Traffic is extremely likely to back up through the tunnel.

Lots of lights at new roundabout

Ah, but what of tolls putting people off both Blackwall and the new tunnel?

Well ok, that is possible but then a substantial number of drivers will head to Woolwich Ferry and the Rotherhithe tunnel to avoid paying.

Greenwich town centre plans for pedestrianisation. Yet more traffic will be funneled through the town to free Rotherhithe Tunnel

That will clog up Greenwich town centre and Deptford. Charlton’s dual carriageways should be fine – though whether that remains the case once 7,500 homes are built at Charlton Riverside is unknown.

Charlton masterplan will see at least 7,500 homes

George Osborne’s Standard has covered this today with apparent inaccuracies. They state 37 buses an hour will run in each direction. It’s actually 20 an hour and only for three years.

TfL state “We are committed to ensuring it’s delivered with minimal impact to residents”. As I covered last week, work for the tunnel involves narrowing roads in Greenwich which are currently clogged when gigs are on at the o2. Many vehicles double parking are ubers waiting for jobs – and TfL’s cabs unit are barely ever seen. A new 10k music venue opens directly beside narrowed roads in three months.

And as covered this morning Knight Dragon are seeking to increase homes in the Peninusla on their plots to over 17,000. Jubilee Line train orders have been “paused” which really means scrapped.

At the time TfL blamed falling numbers of passengers. Since then strong growth is back.




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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

4 thoughts on “TfL and Silvertown Tunnel – is the spin credible?

  • Nothing about two local Greenwich cllrs in the area opposing in public then agreeing to proceed in private?

    They will have a real battle to win the next election as things stand. By then the disruption will be in full flow unless its stopped. Many local people didn’t even know basic things about the area when moving to new homes and you can be sure many aren’t aware of this tunnel. They’ll be in for a shock.

    • I do agree Jo. The impact of congestion to the local area will intensify especially with the 1 boat service which occurs on the Woolwich Ferry! Not forgetting the dangerous tailbacks around the roundabout on busy peaks. No one can justify making the Blackwall Tunnel a Toll Road! Surely.

      I do believe the tide of change needs to happen fast with regards to the administration

      • Your comment about the tide of change is completely inappropriate, it is party political and this article is about the Silverlink Tunnel. This site is doing a wonderful job on raising the profile of local issues if it gets involved in debates like yours, and others try to raise then it will loose its credibility as a inclusive community site.

  • So surprised at how much little press there is on the tunnel…many locals are completely unaware! It’s a travesty.


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