Step Forward for Silvertown Tunnel

The proposed Silvertown Tunnel in London, which would run for 0.6 miles (1km) beneath the Thames, has taken a step forward as plans have gone out for consultation. Work on the tunnel to provide a road link between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks is hoped to begin in 2017.
The Silvertown Tunnel project is worth a total of £750 million, and has the firm support of the Mayor of London. The road transport link that the tunnel represents is considered crucial for the planned regeneration of both the Greenwich and Royal Docks areas. These regeneration efforts are expected to take place on a large scale, with planning permission in place for 10,000 new homes in the Greenwich Peninsula area as part of the planned redevelopment. As soon as the early part of 2015, there are expected be roughly two million square feet of property undergoing development in the area.
The public consultation will continue until the 19th of December 2014. This will be followed by a report the following spring which will detail the consultation’s findings. Following the report, Transport for London (TfL) is hopeful that it will be able to proceed with an application for a development consent order from the UK government by December 2015.
The Silvertown Tunnel is one of several river crossings currently planned by TfL, with others intended for Belvedere and Gallions Reach. These are designed to open up significant development opportunities in the areas that will benefit from improved transport links, creating jobs and allowing the construction of new housing.
The Silvertown Tunnel is considered particularly important to the future development of the city, and the UK government has already designated it a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). Usage of the tunnel would be tolled, along with the other planned river crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere and several existing crossings.
Planning Director for TfL Michèle Dix welcomed the move to consultation stage as “an opportunity to find out more about the design of the tunnel, how it will be used and the benefits and impacts of this new crossing.” She also praised the detailed Silvertown Tunnel plans as “the next step in delivering a series of crossings that will keep London moving.”
Lending his firm support to the project, London mayor Boris Johnson also praised the proposed tunnel. Boris said that the tunnel would “provide a vital new link beneath the Thames from two of our city’s great opportunity areas for new homes and jobs.” He also emphasised the importance of providing more crossings for the Thames, saying that “Unless new river crossings are provided, the huge growth potential of east London will not be realised… These new crossings will be essential not just for east London, but for the capital as a whole and its continued success as the motor of the UK economy.”
Should the tunnel gain approval to go ahead as hoped, construction should take roughly four years beginning in 2017.