Murky Depths

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Greenwich

Silvertown Tunnel – feeding more traffic into an already congested A2 through Greenwich borough?

Courtesy TfL. Southbound is very busy. Two tunnel's traffic headed to here instead of one.

Arguments about the impending Silvertown Tunnel in Greenwich continue to be made strongly between campaigners and Greenwich Council who support the new £1 billion link to the Royal Docks.

There’s a huge number of issues, but one possible problem occurring to me with the Silvertown Tunnel is no adjustment to the A2 leading from Greenwich to Kent via Eltham which will have more traffic fed into it.



Proponents of the tunnel claim it will alleviate morning queues heading north over the Thames with queues currently seen leading back to Sun in the Sands roundabout.

Northern portal is separate to Blackwall

That may be so (plenty of people have strong views on it) but what of traffic heading in the opposite direction in the evening towards Kent?

Slow moving

Well, no change is planned for much of the three and two lane roads in cuttings that will have another tunnel’s traffic fed to them. Tonight is pretty standard as shown in the Google traffic map above with red and orange slow moving traffic from Eltham all the way back to near Greenwich.

How will feeding more traffic help this situation?

Courtesy Google. Current a2 will not be altered

I did ask about congestion earlier on the A2 heading to Kent. Greenwich Councils cllr now tasked with communication stated:

To the north of the Thames the new tunnel is located in the Royal Docks with traffic at a signal controlled junction. TfL hope this will diffuse traffic to the north by having a separate exit to the Blackwall Tunnel, but south of the Thames there is no change planned for the A2 and approach roads.

Approach roads in Greenwich see minimal change

So, lets say pollution concerns are alleviated (and that’s a big if) what about the crucial other side of the coin in congestion? More traffic equals more delays for business and public transport.

It could be that tolls are set at a level where it’s hoped traffic southbound will not increase, but then why build a new £1 billion tunnel to begin with?



The authority have only gained around £1 million in mitigation measures from TfL. For comparison, a relatively modest housing development of around 80-100 homes in the borough will generally bring more than that in Section 106, Community Infrastructure Levy and New Homes Bonus cash.

The council have also stated they hope this to be part of package of crossings which could alleviate this issue of more traffic into the A2. The only issue is none are confirmed let alone ready to start in coming years.

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. David N

    “It could be that tolls are set at a level where it’s hoped traffic southbound will not increase, but then why build a new £1 billion tunnel to begin with?”

    TfL’s rationale is that two tunnels would increase resilience, so that queuing time due to breakdowns & accidents is cut. But, £1 billion is a lot to spend to achieve this. And, as you say, it does nothing about issues on the A2.

    TfL also assumed that the Dart automated tolling would improve capacity at the Dartford crossing, whereas it seems everyday there are tailbacks to J3 on the M25

    • fromthemurkydepths

      Yep that argument doesn’t really help Greenwich as unless the issue is in the tunnel itself the approach road is pretty much the same so any issue and both impacted.

  2. JR

    This is why we also need a bridge halfway between Blackwall and Dartford – Belvedere, Thamesmead, wherever. The A2 can’t be expanded and traffic isn’t going to go away just because we don’t want it.

    • HK

      Bingo!
      That’s exactly what I suggested – another crossing in Thamesmead.

      Such a simple answer – the council are making this much more complicated than it should be and giving them excuse to toll drivers even more!

  3. PD

    Why oh why do all these idiots believe tolls will solve everything? They don’t. They are simply a fundraiser or extra motorist tax as it were. The seriously over capacity Dartford Crossing is an excellent example of how tolls do *nothing* to reduce traffic. It’s rammed…why?…because most motorists HAVE to use it whether for commuting, business or leisure – there is no other option (apart from using the now occasional Woolwich Ferry or the even more congested Blackwall Tunnel oh and forget going through Central London!)

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