Demolition and widening of Greenwich borough roads coming if Silvertown Tunnel commences?

It’s now clear that a new tunnel at Silvertown feeding onto Greenwich borough’s creaking road network will cause existing queues to get worse according to TfL’s reports into the project. We see five mile queues daily on the A2 as it is.

Even TfL accept that and they’re the project’s main supporter and backer. So then, the obvious question is what will be done?

Widening roads in Eltham is difficult – yet more traffic will head here and its queuing each evening

If we go back throughout road building schemes the familiar story is subsequent widening of more roads as extra traffic arrives and demolition alongside. Urban blight and poor public realm generally follow. And more traffic will arrive; between 4pm and 6pm a rise from 3,500 vehicles to 5,000 an hour.

Southbound traffic towards Greenwich borough due to rise sharply

If we already have daily five mile jams from Falconwood through Eltham, Kidbrooke, Blackheath and then reaching Greenwich, plans are likely to be afoot to widen some roads to deal with this increase. But where?

TfL traffic modelling. Red dots along A2 suggest worse traffic post completion. Kidbrooke sees larger red dot

TfL traffic modelling suggest worse queues along the A2. It won’t be easy to widen as much is in deep cuttings and beside railway lines – especially in Eltham.

Traffic leaving A2 to reach Kidbrooke must wait at signal controlled junction

Kidbrooke though is the main area we could see change. There’s no grade separation at Kidbrooke Junction and traffic will increase regardless of Silvertown as more than 5,200 homes are built at Kidbrooke Village. Many are still to be built or occupied.

Kidbrooke in September 2019

TfL want another to build another 600 on top, and Greenwich planning strategy sees more just north west of that.

TfL scheme in background – Berkeley Homes in foreground. A2 seen behind that

A flyover would seem plausible at Kidbrooke – and this view below would be where we would see the road rising.

Kidbrooke junction approach heading to A2

Though they’ll need to be quick as thousands of residents are moving in soon and won’t take kindly to it. And it’ll be ugly. Think of the flyover in Greenwich for a foretaste.

Blackwall Tunnel flyover in Greenwich

Not great for new residents heading to shops such as the Aldi which are now being built – though getting around on-foot is already poor.

Flyover here. Current area sees a lack of pedestrian crossings despite rapid increase in population and new shops

There’s the possibility of widening to three lanes in parts of Eltham. Perhaps issuing Compulsory Purchase Orders on some housing may be needed.

New Aldi being built near Kidbrooke Village. Between new homes and this shop is the A2 approach

This may come across as scaremongering but realistically how does 30 per cent more traffic enter a road network already at capacity each afternoon without this happening?

Courtesy TfL. Queues now seen daily on A2 before new traffic fed onto this stretch

Yes, it will just fill up in time but major road projects almost inevitably sees this happen.

The thing is, have supporters of this scheme ever considered further areas of widening? Possibly not. They’ve been resolutely quiet on extra southbound traffic and only focused on alleviating northbound. But further road widening is the likely result of adding more traffic on the stretch towards Kent.

Current network struggles daily – this is traffic heading away from Blackwall

It’s why it always seemed so baffling of those politicians supporting in Eltham. Did they really not consider what would happen down the line?

Since plans were first mooted for the tunnel, large schemes have been expanded or widened in scope. Kidbrooke Village has seen thousands more homes added above and beyond original projections.

Charlton masterplan will see at least 7,500 homes

Greenwich Peninsula has seen the same – with another 1,800 unveiled by Knight Dragon this year and the same at Morden Wharf.

Morden Wharf plans

Charlton Riverside will see another 7,500 new homes.

Much of that wasn’t even included in original traffic projections which see a 30 per cent increase in southbound traffic according to TfL. There’s also vast lorry park plans now cropping up:

Three tier lorry park planned by Silvertown Tunnel

To think subsequent road widening and demolition along the A2 and other areas will not occur in coming years seems optimistic. Some may say foolish.

Politicians who have supported the tunnel can’t then plead ignorance when extra queues, disruption and road widening schemes come up.


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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.

5 thoughts on “Demolition and widening of Greenwich borough roads coming if Silvertown Tunnel commences?

  • I suspect all it takes is the promise of a directorship and some warm food to make our local politicians sign off on anything that will bring them some short term prestige. I recall one visiting the docks at Southampton and proudly declaring that she could not see any pollution, as a prelude to the (now abandoned) cruise ship terminal at Enderby Wharf. Practicality takes second place to the ‘optics’ of any given situation, such as feasibility or maintenance. Hence lots of money for renders but no budget for a cleaner.

    • I don’t think its Directorships, just mystified why local councillors have done nothing to ameliorate the dreadful effects of this tunnel on their wards. All you can think is that some have personal objectives to be players on a wider stage and as a result ignore and walk all over their ward constituents interests. And what sort of advice are they given by local government officers?

  • If you look around you can see where in the old days potential Road widening areas were left undeveloped along major roads, these are now being built on – Woolwich rd by Gallions road flats with balconies are being built by Peabody overlooking a petrol station.

  • There won’t be any road widening to accompany the project – the Development Consent Order for the scheme includes all aspects of its delivery.

    There is a misconception that you one can build your way out of the problem – what it will require is more road user management. Which is why you will see schemes such as the ULEZ etc pricing people off the road.

    The fact that it’ll hit poorer people harder etc is an issue. Also the modelling done for the scheme at the time, would have been based on ownership trends etc from the time, however its pretty obvious that these aren’t continuing in the same form.

    Finally the Lorry park… you’ll find that the TfL the LPA etc could easily refuse that for its detrimental impacts on the road network and living environment of surrounding users…. I wouldn’t consider it as a given.

  • The exisiting roads around Greenwich, Charlton, the A2 including the Sun In The Sands and Blaclwall Tunnel will be gridlocked most of the time with the extra traffic using the new Silvertown Tunnel if built.

    I cannot believe the Labour Councilors in the area are going ahead with plans for the Silvertown Tunnel adding the misery of their extra traffic and pollution on their ward constituents many of whom are on low incomes and cannot afford to buy new cars. Theae area already suffers from high pollution area but was not treated as priority for improvements by the Labour Mayor of London who choose areas in South West London which he used to represent as an MP to be the first to have measures put in place to reduce traffic pollution

    He also done a publicity stunt on TV at a primary school in Eltham where children were asked to use equipment on their walk to and from school to measure pollution levels along the Westhorne Avenue another very busy road with lots of heavy traffic most of the day but nothing as happended since. Pollution can seriosuly affect a personal health.


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