River Crossings

Closed 5 Mar 2012

Opened 6 Feb 2012


Update 3 December 2015

Click here to go to the latest consultation on river crossings

Following a 2014 consultation on east London river crossing options, the Mayor asked Transport for London (TfL) to progress options for new bridges or tunnels at both Gallions Reach and Belvedere. Taking account of the responses received, over the last twelve months we have been undertaking various pieces of work on:

  • The likely impacts of these crossings, including impact on traffic flows
  • The public transport network and options for public transport provision on each of the crossings
  • Environmental considerations and impacts
  • The economic benefits of new crossings

This consultation will help to progress the project and ensure our decisions take account of the views of the public and stakeholders.

We would like to know whether you support the crossings, how you think you would use them and the destinations you would like to be able to get to by improved public transport connections.

We appreciate your time in reading about our project and providing us with your feedback.

Update ends


The information on this web page relates to a consultation that was undertaken in February/March 2012.

We ran a further consultation from 29 October 2012 to 1 February 2013. Click here to view details of that consultation.


We would like your views on a package of proposed new Thames crossings in east and southeast London, which includes:

  • Gallions Reach Ferry. A new vehicle ferry at Gallions Reach which could replace the Woolwich Ferry;
  • Silvertown Tunnel. A new road tunnel at Silvertown


Improving cross-river connections

East and southeast London will be the focus for half of all the Capital’s population and employment growth over the next twenty years. Ensuring that vehicles can easily cross the Thames will be important in achieving this growth.

The existing vehicle crossings – the Blackwall Tunnel, Rotherhithe Tunnel and the Woolwich Ferry – are already under strain. We need to put in place more ways to cross the river so that both people and goods traffic can move efficiently now and in the future.

Public transport improvements

Much has already been done to improve public transport in this area with more on the way. The London Overground, DLR extensions and upgraded Jubilee line have all made it easier to get across the river by public transport. By 2018, Crossrail will provide another connection and the Emirates Air Line cable car crossing for pedestrians and cyclists is due to open in summer 2012.  

But we also need to provide crossings for the commercial traffic – lorries, vans and cars – that are important for businesses, goods delivery and servicing. In recent years, investment in the road network has not kept up with increasing demand. The chart below is an overview of public transport and highway crossings in this part of London without the proposed new ferry and tunnel.  

Existing crossings under strain

At the moment, the number of routes available to vehicles is limited. There is a width restriction at the Rotherhithe Tunnel and a height restriction at the Blackwall Tunnel. These can lead to tunnel closures and delays for all vehicles. The Woolwich Ferry is ageing and may not be in the best location for current and future needs. Since the number of crossings here is so limited, any incidents or closures mean that people need to make long diversions in order to find an alternative.

This lack of resilience and choice leads to further delay and congestion for drivers - at the Blackwall Tunnel this is on average 20 minutes per vehicle in the morning peak. For businesses, it is an additional cost and can discourage investment. Without action now, these problems will only get worse.

The Mayor’s Transport Strategy sets out a commitment to take forward a package of new river crossings for east and southeast London:

The proposed package of improvements

  • Emirates Air Line. A new cable car connection between the Royal Docks and North Greenwich. It is a fully accessible link for pedestrians and cyclists currently being constructed and due to be open by summer 2012;
  • Gallions Reach Ferry. A new vehicle ferry at Gallions Reach between Beckton and Thamesmead. This would improve connectivity and could replace the Woolwich Ferry;
  • Silvertown Tunnel. A new road tunnel between Silvertown and north Greenwich. This would relieve congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel by providing an alternative route between the Royal Docks, Isle of Dogs, Lower Lea Valley and Greenwich Peninsula. 













Subject to securing the appropriate planning permissions and funding for these proposals, the ferry could be in place in 2017, and the road tunnel in 2021. 












Map showing the proposals

Please click here to view a larger version of the above map

Silvertown Tunnel

A new road tunnel here would add more capacity to the road network and offer an alternative to the Blackwall Tunnel. It would also be designed to accommodate tall vehicles, which the Blackwall Tunnel cannot. This would reduce the peak period delays at the existing tunnel and reduce congestion. It would help to realise the potential of the surrounding development areas like the Royal Docks and Greenwich Peninsula (some 13,000 new jobs and 24,500 new homes).

We would carefully manage the traffic and air quality impacts of any crossing locally. The earliest a new road tunnel at Silvertown could be opened is 2021, provided that the necessary consents and funding are available.

Gallions Reach ferry

The ferry and piers at Woolwich will be fifty years old next year. While recent investment means it can continue in the short-term, in the longer term we need new boats and piers. At the same time we can consider where best to locate a new ferry crossing. Options need to take account of where the growth and demand will happen, help relieve existing congestion and be well-integrated with the road network.

A new vehicle ferry crossing at Gallions Reach would improve connectivity for vehicles wishing to cross the Thames between Thamesmead and Beckton and provide an alternative route into the Royal Docks from the south east. It would be purpose-built to modern standards and be able to carry more vehicles per boat than the existing Woolwich ferry. Its location would provide a more direct route for most traffic, with better queuing facilities and would also help to relieve congestion in Woolwich town centre. It could be delivered by 2017 subject to securing the appropriate consents and funding.

Paying for the proposals

In the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement of 2011, the Government indicated its support for new transport infrastructure in London.

The proposed crossings are major schemes and although they would bring significant benefits, they are costly to build and funding beyond our existing business plan would be required. A range of funding options is being considered.

Have your say

This consultation has now closed.

The consultation ran from 6 February 2012 to 5 March 2012. Download a report on the results of this consultation.


  • Barking & Dagenham
  • Barnet
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  • River Crossings