A new report has called for four new river crossings to be built in East London to unlock economic development and new homes.
The report from the Commission on East Thames Crossings, chaired by Lord Adonis, calls for river crossings to be built on the East Thames at Silvertown, Gallions Reach, Belvedere and near to the existing Dartford Crossing.
Ambitions for 200,000 new homes and 350,000 jobs to be created in the Thames Gateway have been held back by a lack of cross-river connectivity, it says.
Linking London: A new generation of river crossings to revitalise the East Thames was published as Transport for London launched a public consultation on plans for a Silvertown tunnel that would connect the Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Docks.
It has been designated a nationally significant infrastructure project and, if approved, could start in 2017 and take four years to complete at an estimated cost of £750m.
The Mayor of London and TfL are also planning new road crossings to the east of Silvertown, with a recent consultation suggesting public support for crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere.
The Commission on East Thames Crossings argues that at Gallions Reach, building a tunnel instead of a bridge or ferry would generate more economic development in the area and would provide better facilities for walking or cycling.
There are 17 river crossings on the 20 miles of the river west of Tower Bridge, but only three on the equivalent stretch of the river going east.
The commission recommends that the four new crossings should be funded by a combination of tolls and revenue from the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone.
It calculates that the cost of the Silvertown and Gallions Reach crossings could be almost entirely covered by this, leaving only a fraction to be covered by government grant.
It also recommends that an arms-length body, similar to Crossrail, be set up to oversee delivery of the new crossings.
Linking London estimates that four new crossings would catalyse the development of up to 45,000 new homes to 2031 and the creation of up to 60,000 new jobs.
It also says the crossings could improve the productivity of existing firms in the area by over £55m a year and contribute over £1bn additional gross value-added annually.
Commission on East Thames Crossings chair Lord Adonis said: “People living in the East Thames area have been waiting decades for these crossings and the economic benefits they will bring.
“We now have a real window of opportunity to deliver them, capitalising on recent investments in Crossrail and the Olympic boroughs. This report shows how that can be done.”
The report recommends:
1. Four new river crossings in East London
- The Silvertown tunnel should be developed as soon as possible;
- Gallions should be the second priority and operational before 2024;
- A new crossing at Belvedere should be constructed as and when the expected regeneration benefits of other road and rail investments are realised;
- Plans for the Lower Thames Crossing should be finalised no later than summer 2015 and developed as soon as possible after that.
2. TfL should seriously consider the case for a tunnel at Gallions, rather than a bridge or ferry, with a segregated section for pedestrians and cyclists.
3. A special purpose company, along the lines of Crossrail, should be established to oversee the delivery of new crossings. It should be established by 2015 and appoint high-profile person to lead the organisation.
4. The crossings should be funded from a mixture of sources, with tolling used to raise revenue and manage traffic flows with a discount for local residents.