Other options that could be considered are described below.
A replacement ferry at Woolwich
Some people who responded to our previous consultation on river crossings suggested that we should improve the ageing ferry infrastructure at Woolwich.
Because of the age of the existing infrastructure, this would mean replacing the Woolwich Ferry with a new ferry at the same location. While this could be cheaper than implementing an entirely new ferry at Gallions Reach, and might take less time, it would not enable us to resolve the traffic congestion problems at the terminals that the ferry currently causes. It would also require closures of the Woolwich Ferry during construction of the new infrastructure, which would cause considerable disruption.
Initial analysis also shows that many of the uses of the Woolwich Ferry have origins and/or destinations east of Woolwich, which means a crossing further east might be more convenient and reduce travel distances.
A bridge or tunnel at Gallions Reach
Some respondents to our previous consultation on river crossings also suggested that a bridge or tunnel at Gallions Reach would be a better solution than a ferry.
If we construct a ferry in this location, it would still be possible to implement a bridge or tunnel later, a fact which is recognised by the Mayor’s Transport Strategy. However, in this case, it would be unlikely that a bridge or tunnel would be implemented for at least another twenty years.
An alternative approach might be to construct a bridge or tunnel instead of the Gallions Reach Ferry. A bridge or tunnel would be more expensive and would take at least four years longer to deliver than a new ferry, so it could not be delivered until after 2021. In the meantime we would need to spend significant sums on the Woolwich Ferry so it could continue to operate at least until the new crossing was complete.
What would the impacts of a tunnel or bridge be?
The proposed tunnel at Silvertown would provide a new alternative to the Blackwall tunnel, improving both the capacity and reliability of crossings in that part of London and catering for traffic travelling along the A2. Therefore, any new tunnel or bridge at Gallions Reach would be likely to be used mostly by local traffic. This, and the presence of alternative crossings to the west, mean that the scale of a bridge or tunnel here could be minimised, and we believe that two lanes in each direction would be enough. However, traffic volumes would be higher than with a ferry option, so careful traffic management would be needed to avoid increased delays around the crossing.