We are developing proposals for a new road tunnel linking the areas north and south of the Thames between the Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown. The main effect of this project would be to reduce delays and closures at the Blackwall Tunnel by improving connections and offering alternative crossing options. A new tunnel here would also help London’s economy and population continue to grow, and would help to regenerate the area. The earliest the Silvertown Tunnel could become operational is in 2021.
The benefits of the Silvertown Tunnel
A tunnel here could double the available river crossing capacity in this area. This could signifi cantly reduce the delays experienced at Blackwall (which are often around 20 minutes), saving people and businesses time, money, and frustration. As the area grows, more people will need to cross the river, so this relief would be even more important.
The tunnel would also help reduce the impact of closures of the Blackwall Tunnel. It would do this in two ways. First, because it would be able to accommodate tall vehicles in both directions, it should reduce the number of overheight vehicles attempting to use the Blackwall Tunnel northbound, reducing the number of times the tunnel has to close.
Secondly, having another crossing in the area would mean that even if one tunnel closes, the road network would be able to cope better, reducing the impact of incidents when they occur.
The Silvertown Tunnel - design principles
The tunnel would pass under the River Thames, inside an area of land that has been safeguarded for this purpose. Unlike the Blackwall Tunnel, which would carry most longer-distance traffic, the Silvertown Tunnel would carry more local traffic as well as vehicles which are too tall to use the Blackwall Tunnel.
The tunnel would be built to modern standards, and would be large enough to carry all sizes of vehicles, including buses. Pedestrians and cyclists would not be able to use the Silvertown Tunnel for safety reasons, but could use the nearby Emirates Air Line.
Connecting the Silvertown Tunnel to the existing road network
The illustrations below aim to give a sense of the location and scale of the highway infrastructure that would be needed to connect the Silvertown Tunnel to the surrounding road network. They also help demonstrate the type of connections that the Silvertown Tunnel would provide.
The illustrations shown here are only indicative. We would consult further on more detailed designs if we progress with the proposal, and we would work with local planning authorities to ensure that the highway connections we make complement existing and planned developments in the area.
North side highway links
On the north side, the tunnel could link to a junction with the existing roundabout off Tidal Basin Road. This roundabout would connect the Silvertown Tunnel with the Lower Lea Crossing running west, and more local roads eastwards into the Royal Docks.
South side highway links
On the south side, northbound traffic would enter the Silvertown Tunnel along a new spur branching off from the existing Blackwall Tunnel Approach road. Southbound traffic leaving the tunnel on the south side would join the existing Blackwall Tunnel Approach southbound.