Silvertown tunnel construction update: Greenwich lorry use increases as barge use stops

An update covering forthcoming stages of construction for the Silvertown tunnel in Greenwich has been submitted.

A document within the application also highlights that all movements of excavated material by barge ceased in July 2022 in Greenwich with lorries now the sole means to remove material south of the river.

The application states Murphy’s Wharf on Greenwich Peninsula was in use but “for a variety of reasons, including commercial viability, the use of the wharf by the project ceased in July 2022”.

A list shows work set to be undertaken in coming months and years, with the below image offering an overview.

Work programmed for this year (click to enlarge)

A big deal was made of removing materials via the river – though this now only applies north of the Thames.

Both tunnels converge onto existing road network in Greenwich

Use of barges lasted less than a year in Greenwich: “Since the use of the wharf commenced in September 2021 to July 2022, approximately 87,691 tonnes of excavated material have been successfully transported by barge, which is approximately 44% of all material arising in Greenwich.”

With that now over, a timescale of upcoming works show HGVs used to remove material in Greenwich will peak at 10,000 in Q3 2023, which is 167 per day. That’s an increase from 9,000 in Q2 2023 at 150 lorry movements per day.

Use of barges in Greenwich came quite late in the project and was not initially part of the plan.

Much like when the tunnel opens and traffic from two tunnels will immediately converge onto the same road network in Greenwich – which isn’t happening over the Thames – the south of the river appears get the worse deal.

Traffic from the Blackwall tunnel alone results in miles of queues each afternoon and evening for Kent-bound cars and lorries. Another tunnel’s worth of traffic will be added to the rear of the existing queue.

2023 changes

Visible changes coming soon as part of Silvertown tunnel work includes the demolition of a footbridge over the A102.

To be demolished

A replacement is to be installed.

Planned bridge

A temporary bridge is also to be built at Millennium Way from March 2023:

“As the cut and cover section of the tunnel is located beneath Millennium Way, a temporary bridge is being installed on the highway for the duration of the cut and cover works.

Site preparation works will involve the installation of a temporary overpump to divert the existing sewer, site clearance and UXO surveys, The installation of the bridge structure will require piling and the construction of abutments and once the structure has been installed, the tie ins to the existing road.

The bridge will be in place until Q4 of 2024 when Millennium Way highway, footpath and cycleway will be reinstated.”

Work to also divert the A102 southbound onto an overbridge is set to begin in Q3 2023.

A102 from Blackwlal will run above Silvertown tunnel approach/exit

The application also includes an image showing the final 2025 road layout in the area.

Final road layout

You can view documents by clicking here.

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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.

One thought on “Silvertown tunnel construction update: Greenwich lorry use increases as barge use stops

  • The area is set to see a major increase in lorries travelling to and from the site. So I urge people to take extra care while travelling in the area.

    Increased traffic will be something we will have to get used to when the Silvertown Tunnel opens. As Sadiq Khan Mayor of London has already cut back on ytt amount of bus services to use the Silvertown Tunnel and he continues to axe bus routes with the 271 axed last weekend and the 168 to follow later this year. Other routes are seeing their frequencies reduced.


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