Murky Depths

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Greenwich borough

Campaigners call for Silvertown judicial review. Greenwich Council aren’t keen

Campaigners against the Silvertown Tunnel have this week called for a Judicial Review if Sadiq Khan goes ahead and signs a contract to build.

However at a meeting this week Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe showed little interest in backing such a move.

Cars exiting the A2 towards Greenwich after leaving Blackwall Tunnel. Silvertown Tunnel adds 30% more vehicles to this area

The authority have supported the tunnel for years with the ruling Labour group only asking for a pause with contract signing imminent.

Public space near Blackwall Tunnel. Silvertown mitigation measures ignore this spot

The council recently wrote a letter to Sadiq Khan asking for a pause and to study other options, though it appears they’ve had no response. None was forthcoming at a council meeting this week when members of the public enquired into the issue.

A Guardian article today again quotes the Mayor’s spokesperson making some curious claims including the tunnel will “effectively eliminate congestion”.

Larger version of map showing predicted congestion changes. Greenwich sees increase in queues

The next line is cleverly worded:  “As the number of cars is not expected to increase there is no forecast increase in carbon emissions”.

Three tier lorry park planned by Silvertown Tunnel

Note the use of cars there and not vehicles. Lorries are to be a main source of additional traffic with new lorry parks planned. HGVs are currently prevented from using Blackwall Tunnel.

According to TfL themselves, southbound traffic through Greenwich borough is due to rise 30 per cent upon opening in the evening peak period.

Green bars = future traffic

Is the mayor yet again only taking about east London which sees the biggest benefitsaccording to TfL traffic planning, while south east London loses out?

Green (improvements) mostly north of Thames. Red (more queues) south of Thames.

Supporters such as the Mayor really need calling out on this. Completely ignoring 30 per cent more traffic on the A2 southbound through Greenwich borough each evening – which already sees daily five mile queues from Falconwood through Eltham, Blackheath and Greenwich – is a massive warning sign.

TfL claim additional traffic will disperse onto the road network at various junctions.

Traffic is due to disperse onto local roads

That is to say junctions already at a standstill most evenings with vehicles feeding into the local area.

Given most existing junctions are full, can we expect new junctions and slip roads to be built? And if so, where? Yes, into the realms of speculation though show me a major road scheme with 30 per cent more vehicles that doesn’t have knock-on effects.

New junction? Red arrow shows closed slip road. Space for another on left of image?

Beside the old Eltham Park station on Westmount Road lies an unused west-bound slip road. Could this be a new junction in the heart of Eltham with a slip road also built exiting the A2 and opening the existing slip road currently closed?

Disused slip road heading onto A2

If 30 per cent more traffic is coming it’s far from unlikely. How this leafy part of Eltham would take that I’m not sure.

TfL state: “We are absolutely committed to ensuring that the project is delivered with minimal impact to local residents. We will be undertaking further modelling, monitoring and, if required, appropriate mitigation, of the effects of the scheme to ensure the outcomes are not materially worse than we forecast in our environmental statement.”

Closed slip road on left

Is that mitigation to include additional junctions and road widening upon  completion? As stated many a time, how else does 30 per cent more traffic enter onto a road network at capacity heading away from tunnels towards Kent?

Raising tolls to lower traffic would impact upon finances to repay to PFI loan deal about to be signed. They need the traffic.

Ah, but why spend so much on further road projects such as new slip roads when they need to pay back a PFI deal? Many reasons are possible. Different funding pots? The law of unintended consequence? It’s happened many times before.

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Jo

    I note that supporter of the tunnel and Greenwich Peninsula councillor Denise Scott MacDonald failed to be selected as candidate for Erith & Thamesmead MP last night.

    Now she will have to face the music in her own constituency – though it appears she doesn’t actually want to be here. She also tried to be MP for Westminster didn’t she?

    I wonder if MP candidates in Eltham and Greenwich will also rule out supporting road widening in their constituency? Clive Efford, for example, supported the tunnel. That may come to bite him on the a*** if TfL looks to open new junctions in Eltham clogging up the town. Maybe he’ll be retired by the time it opens in 2025 so thinks he can ride it out?

    I wonder how many others who supported the project will do likewise? When Blackwall Tunnel is closed for Silvertown Tunnel building work it’ll be fun and games. It’ll cause years of frustration and unless cancelled asap is going to loom over all those who supported when the trouble with congestion and pressure to do something really kicks off.

    • GreenwichRes

      I hadn’t realised they planned to close the Blackwell tunnel, do you know how long would that be for? Fun and games indeed!

  2. Jack

    “The central case increase in traffic flows in the peak direction across Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnels combined is estimated to be around 1,200 vehicles more than the 2021 reference case. This increase is due in part to the effect of re-distribution which is expected to increase total river crossing demand in east London by around 200 vehicles. This means that the majority of the increased traffic flow estimated on the Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnels is due to a combination of formerly queuing traffic that is able to cross the river in the peak hour with the Silvertown Tunnel and re-routeing traffic (choosing different routes for the same journeys). As a result delays are almost eliminated from the Blackwall Tunnel Approach in the time period.”

    There’s also an increase in traffic between 4-6pm because the delays mean people who previously delayed their journeys after 6 or were stuck in traffic, can actually get across the river.

    The junctions your proposing in Greenwich have nothing to do with the Crossing coming forward otherwise they would have been in the DCO and what is anyone going to get Judicially Reviewed now? The decision was made by the secretary of state a year ago?

    If people really don’t want the crossing, the discussion that they should be having is to essentially toll something like the A2 which is the only way of actually managing flows on it…. which end up on the A102.

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