Have your say on new river crossings in east and southeast London

Closed 12 Feb 2016

Opened 2 Dec 2015

Results Updated 15 Mar 2016

We received over 4,500 responses to this consultation from the public and stakeholders.  The analysis we have undertaken on the responses highlights a high level of public support for the project, with almost 90% of people who responded supporting a new crossing at Gallions Reach, Belvedere or at both locations.

There was also strong support for the potential public transport options presented as part of the consultation. Concerns were raised from some about potential traffic and air quality impacts and a user charge that is proposed for the schemes.

We have released a report that presents the results of this consultation, as well as provides responses to some of the key issues that were raised by the public and stakeholders.

Click here for a copy of our consultation report (PDF)

Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide us with their feedback.

This report will be presented to the Mayor of London and will help to inform the decisions on the next steps for the project. Subject to Government authorisation and funding being available, the new crossings could open around 2025.

Overview

Update - 15 March 2016

We received over 4,500 responses to this consultation from the public and stakeholders.  The analysis we have undertaken on the responses highlights a high level of public support for the project, with almost 90% of people who responded supporting a new crossing at Gallions Reach, Belvedere or at both locations.

There was also strong support for the potential public transport options presented as part of the consultation. Concerns were raised from some about potential traffic and air quality impacts and a user charge that is proposed for the schemes.

We have released a report that presents the results of this consultation, as well as provides responses to some of the key issues that were raised by the public and stakeholders.

Click here for a copy of our consultation report (PDF)

Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide us with their feedback.

This report will be presented to the Mayor of London and will help to inform the decisions on the next steps for the project. Subject to Government authorisation and funding being available, the new crossings could open around 2025.

Details of the consultation can be found below.

Update ends

Background

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.

Alternatively you can go directly to our online survey.
 

Quick links

The Gallions Reach and Belvedere river crossings

Bridges or tunnels?

Cross-river public transport links

Traffic impacts

Environmental impacts

Walking and cycling

Funding these crossings

Timing and next steps

More information (technical documents)

Have your say

Previous consultations

The Gallions Reach and Belvedere river crossings

London’s population is expected to increase by 1.5m people over the next 15 years, and over one third of this growth is forecast to happen in east London.

The proposed crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere can play a key role in supporting this growth and helping drive London’s economy by providing better connections across the Thames in this part of the Capital.

They are shown on the map below.

The proposed Gallions Reach and Belvedere river crossings

Click here for a larger version of the above map (PDF)

While the exact alignment of each crossing has not been finalised, the Gallions Reach crossing would link the A2016 Western Way in Thamesmead with the A1020 Royal Docks Road in the north. The Belvedere crossing would link the A2016 Bronze Age Way in Belvedere with the A13 Marsh Way junction in Rainham.

New crossings would reduce journey times, create new opportunities for improvements to the walking, cycling and public transport networks across the river, and help to stimulate development in the surrounding areas.

Our work shows that river crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere would:

  • Better connect people, businesses and communities with each other, increasing access to jobs, education and leisure activities
  • Make it easier for people and goods to cross the river in east London
  • Create opportunities for new cross-river public transport links and improve local walking and cycling options
  • Support London’s growing economy by better connecting businesses, and improving access to labour markets
  • Encourage development in the area, helping to address London’s housing shortage
  • Help manage the impact of population growth by reducing cross-river journey times and distances
     

Each crossing is expected to consist of two lanes in each direction – one for public transport and one for general traffic. There will be a charge for vehicles to use the crossings to manage demand and help pay for the scheme. Any pedestrian and cyclist facilities would be segregated from traffic.


Bridges or tunnels?

In our previous consultation, we asked for your views on ferry and bridge options around Woolwich, Gallions Reach and Belvedere. The responses indicated a strong preference for bridges at Gallions Reach and Belvedere. A number of respondents also requested that further consideration be given to tunnels at both locations.

As a result we are considering the feasibility of bridges and tunnels at Gallions Reach and Belvedere. There is still more work to be done before we can decide which option will be chosen at each location, particularly because the public transport options will have a major influence on what is the most feasible and cost effective form of crossing. Artist’s impressions of what each option could look like can be seen on the following pages.

There are a number of questions that need to be addressed in determining whether a bridge or tunnel would be the preferred option in each location. These include:

  • What form of public transport is proposed?
  • What would the land and property impacts be for each crossing?
  • What would the environmental impacts be?
  • What would the impact on other infrastructure be, i.e. river traffic and London City Airport?
  • Which option would be most cost effective given the questions above?
     

It is important for us to answer these and other questions to understand the overall picture before identifying a preferred option.

Gallions Reach Bridge

 

An artist's impression of a bridge at Gallions Reach

Click here for a larger version of the above map (PDF)

There are a number of factors to consider if building a bridge at Gallions Reach:

  • It would be likely to be cheaper than a tunnel
  • It would need to be high enough not to impact on shipping below, while low enough to not impact London City Airport’s flight path
  • Pedestrian / cycle facilities could be accommodated, although users would be exposed to poor weather
  • It would be likely to have more impact on nearby residents than a tunnel (e.g. visual impacts)
  • It could make it more difficult to develop residential sites close to the crossing compared to a tunnel
     

Gallions Reach tunnel

An artist's impression of a tunnel at Gallions Reach

Click here for a larger version of the above map (PDF)

There are a number of factors to consider if building a tunnel at Gallions Reach:

  • It would be likely to be more expensive than a bridge
  • It would have little or no impact on shipping and London City Airport
  • A pedestrian and cycle tunnel could be considered less attractive to users than a bridge
  • It would be likely to have fewer impacts on nearby residents, when compared to a bridge
  • It would be likely to leave more land available for other uses, particularly after construction
  • It would be less susceptible to poor weather than a bridge
     

Belvedere Bridge

An artist's impression of a bridge at Belvedere

Click here for a larger version of the above map (PDF)

There are a number of factors to consider if building a bridge at Belvedere:

  • It would be close to major working wharves and would therefore require a high and long span, which could increase the cost to be similar to the cost of a tunnel at Belvedere
  • Pedestrian / cycle facilities could be accommodated, although users would be exposed to poor weather
  • Being further from the London City Airport, there is more flexibility on the type of structure that can be built than at Gallions Reach
     

Belvedere Tunnel

An artist's impression of a tunnel at Belvedere

Click here for a larger version of the above map (PDF)

There are a number of factors to consider if building a tunnel at Belvedere:

  • It could be a similar cost to a bridge  
  • It would have little or no impact on shipping
  • It potentially has less of an impact than a bridge on local properties and the future development of the area, particularly after construction
  • It would be less susceptible to poor weather than a bridge
  • A pedestrian and cycle tunnel could be considered less attractive to users than a bridge

Cross-river public transport links

The Gallions Reach and Belvedere river crossings would play an important role in improving public transport connections between east and southeast London.

At the last consultation, respondents asked us to explore what improvements to the public transport networks could be incorporated within the new crossings.

In addition to considering new bus routes on both crossings and the destinations they could serve, we have explored whether it would be possible to provide new rail links as well.

Our work shows that an extension of the existing DLR network, or a tram-based option, would be more feasible at Gallions Reach than Belvedere. This is due to the proximity of the Gallions Reach crossing to the DLR station at Gallions Reach and the higher numbers of people living close to the crossing now and in the future who could benefit from it.

The DLR or tram-based option would be provided in addition to the bus network. They would require major investment and each has advantages and disadvantages, so we need to better understand how local people would use any new public transport services.

This consultation is seeking your views on what new public transport links would be most helpful to you, to help us understand which public transport options would be most effective in meeting local needs.

A summary of these options is set out on the following pages, with the map opposite illustrating some potential new public transport links these crossings could provide. This includes potentially linking to:

  • The new Crossrail services at Abbey Wood, Woolwich and Custom House
  • DLR services at Woolwich Arsenal and Gallions Reach
  • The Underground at Barking
  • The Overground at Barking and Barking Riverside
  • National Rail services at Abbey Wood, Woolwich, Belvedere, Barking and Dagenham Dock
     

Potential public transport links across the proposed Gallions Reach and Belvedere river crossings

Click here for a larger version of the above map (PDF)
 

Bus services

Bus services are an important part of the proposals. Both crossings provide the opportunity to run new or extended bus routes across the Thames that would serve a wide range of destinations on either side of the river.

With a bus-based solution, it is intended that bus lanes would be provided on the crossings to separate bus services from other traffic, and there is the potential for complementary bus priority to be provided on the wider local road network to provide rapid bus transit links with dedicated bus lanes.

Examples of the potential new connections include:

  • Gallions Reach crossing – Barking, Beckton and the Royal Docks to Thamesmead, Woolwich and Abbey Wood
  • Belvedere crossing – Dagenham, Rainham and Romford to Belvedere, Erith and Bexleyheath
     

These services would link to a wide range of local areas, and would be able to respond to changes in passenger demand as the areas around the crossings develop. 

An artist's impression of bus lanes over either crossing
 

Docklands Light Rail (DLR)

The existing DLR network comes close to the northern end of the Gallions Reach crossing location, providing an opportunity to extend the DLR across it.

A DLR would provide Thamesmead with a high quality, direct new rail link to the Royal Docks, with onward connections to Canary Wharf and central London and would complement the new and extended bus routes that would use the crossing.

There is also the potential to make longer connections, such as passing through Thamesmead and towards Abbey Wood, or northwards towards Barking, either at the same time, or after the Gallions Reach crossing has been built.

Providing a DLR on the crossing would add to the costs of the scheme (it is likely to be more expensive to incorporate a DLR service through a tunnel than on a bridge). It would provide direct connections to fewer places than new bus routes, but it would greatly increase the capacity of public transport links to and from Thamesmead, and is likely to stimulate more growth in housing and amenities in the area than a bus-only solution.

An artist's impression of a DLR service over a crossing at Gallions Reach

Tram

Unlike the DLR, there are no existing tram networks locally to connect a new tram service into. However, because trams can run at ground level and share the road with buses, it could be a lower cost option than the DLR while providing similar benefits.

A tram network, which would be provided in addition to buses, could include services from Barking to both Woolwich and Abbey Wood via Gallions Reach DLR station, the new crossing and Thamesmead. This option could be well integrated with a number of potential new development sites, providing the new capacity and connections that could allow this growth to take place.

While it could also be more straightforward and less costly than the DLR to create new tram links beyond the crossing itself, it would require an interchange to access the DLR network on the north side of the crossing.

An artist's impression of a Tram service over a crossing at Gallions Reach
 

Walking and cycling

The crossings could provide new opportunities for walking and cycling journeys across the Thames, bringing, for example, the Royal Docks within an easy cycling distance of Thamesmead using the Gallions Reach crossing. Any new cross-river connections would link with local walking and cycling networks.

If we built bridges, pedestrian and cycling facilities would be provided alongside the road, however, they could take around half an hour to cross on foot. As a bridge would be around 50 metres above the Thames, it would be a long climb and affected at times by poor weather. Lifts could be provided to help pedestrians and cyclists access a bridge from ground level, to avoid the long approach ramps.

To accommodate pedestrians and cyclists in a tunnel, a separate compartment within the tunnel would need to be built for safety reasons. This would have the benefit of weather protection, but it could be very expensive to construct and there may potentially be few other people in the tunnel.

This consultation is seeking views on whether you think you might use a crossing on foot or on a bicycle, to help us understand the likely level of demand for these facilities.

Traffic impacts

The Gallions Reach and Belvedere river crossings would change traffic patterns in east and southeast London. This is because some drivers would change their route to take advantage of the new crossings, increasing traffic on some roads while reducing it on others. Some road users would be able to make shorter journeys reducing traffic in some areas, but it may also mean that some new journeys are made to take advantage of the new opportunities the crossings provide.

The proposed user charge helps to ensure that traffic volumes do not cause significant problems elsewhere on the local road network, and would discourage drivers seeking to avoid the charges at other crossings.

In general, we expect traffic to decrease on certain routes, such as other river crossings and the road approaching them, such as the A2. We expect traffic to be higher on the roads approaching the river crossings, such as the A406, A13 and roads in the north of Bexley and Greenwich.

The map below shows the main routes which our initial modelling shows could experience changes in traffic during the morning peak. Purple lines show where traffic could decrease and orange lines show where traffic could increase. Roads in grey would not be likely to see significant change.
 

Traffic impacts as a result of both crossings being built

Click here for a larger version of the above map (PDF)

Because of the limited crossing opportunities in east London, it can take a long time to travel between places on either side of the river. These crossings would reduce the time taken to get to the other side of the river.

Some expected reductions in peak journey time (by car) are:

  • Thamesmead to Barking – around 40 minutes
  • Rainham to Erith – around 20 minutes
     

We will model these changes in more detail and may propose changes to the road network to ensure traffic is managed appropriately. The effect of the crossings on traffic would also be affected by any other changes made to the local road networks; for example, the emerging growth plans for the area could create new road links which may influence traffic patterns.

Environmental impacts

We have undertaken a high level environmental study so we have an initial understanding of the potential environmental impacts of these two crossings. This study looked into possible impacts on air quality, visual and urban surroundings, ground conditions and materials, and local ecology.

Air quality

Previous investigations have considered air quality impacts of each crossing separately. Since the last consultation, we have looked at the potential air quality impacts of both crossings together. This involved a high level assessment of the potential change in air quality (specifically Nitorgen Dioxide, NO2) concentrations as a result of vehicle emissions at a number of locations surrounding the crossings.

As would be expected, the results of the assessment indicate that NO2 concentrations would be likely to increase in areas with increased traffic, and decrease where roads become less busy.

Overall, the assessment indicated that there would be breaches of the legal limits, both with and without the scheme, but there would be no additional locations where air quality would breach legal limits as a result of the scheme.

We will undertake further detailed modelling and specific investigations as the design of the scheme progresses. Any proposals taken forward will be subject to rigorous assessment to ensure they comply with air quality standards set out in policy and legislation.

Visual impact, noise and ecology

Effects on other environmental factors will vary, depending on the type of crossing that is constructed. Tunnels would be likely to have more construction-related impacts on local ecology than bridges, although our current assessment of this risk indicates that it could be managed to reduce any negative impact.

Bridges would require long approach ramps as well as the main structure, and would therefore have a greater visual impact on neighbouring communities than tunnels. Bridges would also be likely to create more noise and vibration than a tunnel.

Further work is required to conclude how significant these impacts might be and what forms of mitigation would be required.

More detailed environmental investigations will be undertaken as the project progresses.

Funding these crossings

Each crossing could cost in the order of £1 billion. However the final costs depend on some decisions that still need to be made – such as whether they are bridges or tunnels, whether they include facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, or include a rail crossing – and some factors outside our control, such as future inflation. Other factors which are currently uncertain include the ground conditions, and changes to the road network elsewhere such as signals and junctions.

The crossings would be partly funded by charging vehicles to use them. This charge would also help to manage the demand for the new crossings.

We envisage that peak period charges would be comparable to the proposed charge for the Blackwall and Silvertown tunnels and those at the Dartford crossing, although no decisions have yet been made on the exact cost. There would be scope for discounts and exemptions, based on, for example, the emissions of the vehicle.

It is too early to determine exactly which financing arrangement we would use to deliver the crossings. We will consider a range of options including TfL or government financing, borrowing or private finance.

Timing and next steps

Authorisation to construct the Gallions Reach and Belvedere river crossings will need to be granted by the Government. Subject to authorisation being given and funding being available, the new crossings could open around 2025.

Below is an indicative timeline and next steps for the Gallions Reach and Belvedere river crossings.

  1. December 2015 - February 2016: Non-statutory consultation
  2. March 2016: Report to outcome of consultation
  3. 2017: Agreement to funding. Decision to proceed
  4. 2017/18: Statutory consultation
  5. 2018: Submit application for the powers needed to build the scheme
  6. 2021: Contract award
  7. 2025: Estimated completetion

More information

Click here to view or download all our technical documents
 

Have your say

We’d like to know whether you support the scheme, as well as how you think you would use these new crossings (whether by vehicle, on foot, by bicycle, by public transport etc). We would also like to know where you would like improved public transport connections to.

To have your say, please click on the online survey below. You can also email us at rivercrossings@tfl.gov.uk or write to ‘FREEPOST TfL CONSULTATIONS’.

Don’t forget to provide your postcode, as this will help immensely when analysing the results.

The closing date for feedback is Friday 12 February 2016.


 

Previous consultations

The Gallions Reach and Belvedere river crossings have been developed with the benefit of feedback to several consultations. If you’re interested in reading more about these previous consultations, click on the links below:

February 2012 - March 2012 – Silvertown Tunnel, Woolwich Ferry replacement, Gallions Reach ferry

October 2012 - February 2013 – Silvertown Tunnel, Woolwich Ferry replacement, Gallions Reach bridge or tunnel

July 2014 - September 2014 – Woolwich Ferry replacement, Gallions Reach ferry, Gallions Reach bridge, Belvedere bridge

 

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Audiences

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Interests

  • River Crossings