Benefits and impacts of improved crossings

Closed 1 Feb 2013

Opened 29 Oct 2012


The projects set out in this consultation would make a huge difference to some of the biggest transport problems in East and South East London. They would make connections between areas that are separated by the River Thames, and would help the economy of this growing part of London to flourish.

Improved crossings would also help to reduce delays and congestion, which would save people and businesses time and money, as well as reducing frustration and contributing to a more pleasant environment.

We are continuing to assess the impact of these proposals and depending on the package of measures that is eventually implemented, we could see a range of possible effects.

Addressing delays on the road network

The proposals are intended to reduce delays on the highway network. The Silvertown Tunnel would cut delays on the roads approaching the Blackwall Tunnel. Journeys on the road network would also be more reliable. If we replaced the Woolwich Ferry with an alternative crossing, it would remove a source of delay in the area.

Making and enhancing connections

New crossings, would dramatically improve connections in areas either side of the Thames, making them more attractive places to live and do business. Improving the reliability of existing connections would save people and businesses time and money.

Managing traffic growth

New and improved river crossings would help to manage the growth in traffic that a growing population and economy will bring. Without improved crossings, more traffic will mean more delays.

Environmental emissions and noise

Improving the highway network would help us manage the impacts of traffic growth. For example, reducing the time vehicles spend queuing in traffic would improve engine efficiency and help reduce each vehicle’s emissions, helping to mitigate the impacts of traffic growth. There could also be localised changes in noise.

Other environmental impacts and urban realm impacts

The projects would give an opportunity to improve the built environment in these areas, and showcase high-quality design. We would also conduct full environmental impact assessments on the projects, and would seek to mitigate any negative impacts.

Helping our populations and economy to grow

Reduced traffic congestion and more reliable journey times would lead to reduced costs and increased productivity. The areas around the crossings would also become more attractive to investors. However tolls would represent an additional financial cost to those driving across the river.

During construction

The proposals in this package are major engineering projects. The construction of the Gallions Reach Ferry would take around two years, and the Silvertown Tunnel and any tunnel or bridge at Gallions Reach would take around four and a half years to build. We would seek to minimise disruption during construction through careful planning.

Estimated costs of the proposals

The Silvertown Tunnel would cost around £600m. Our estimate for the cost of implementing the Gallions Reach Ferry is around £150m. Altogether, building a bridge or tunnel at Gallions Reach and extending the life of the Woolwich Ferry in the interim, would cost around the same as constructing the Silvertown Tunnel. Implementing a replacement ferry at Woolwich would cost around £100m.

Possible project delivery dates

The earliest possible opening date for the Silvertown Tunnel would be 2021. The earliest possible opening date for the Gallions Reach Ferry would be 2017. If we implemented a bridge or tunnel instead of the Gallions Reach Ferry, it could not be delivered until after 2021. If we implemented the Gallions Reach Ferry first, we would want to ensure we made the most of the new infrastructure, so in this case the earliest a new bridge or tunnel at Gallions Reach could be delivered would be around 2030 or beyond.


  • Barking & Dagenham
  • Barnet
  • Bexley
  • Brent
  • Bromley
  • Camden
  • City of London
  • Croydon
  • Ealing
  • Enfield
  • Greenwich
  • Hackney
  • Hammersmith & Fulham
  • Haringey
  • Harrow
  • Havering
  • Hillingdon
  • Hounslow
  • Islington
  • Kensington & Chelsea
  • Kingston upon Thames
  • Lambeth
  • Lewisham
  • Merton
  • Newham
  • Redbridge
  • Richmond upon Thames
  • Southwark
  • Sutton
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Waltham Forest
  • Wandsworth
  • Westminster


  • Public
  • Stakeholders
  • Local residents
  • Local businesses
  • Schools
  • London Boroughs
  • Coach Operators


  • River Crossings