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Bridge the gap: Fixed new river crossings vitally needed

4 January 2013 in Regeneration
​The Royal Borough of Greenwich and Newham Council have begun a major campaign for vitally needed fixed river crossings in east and south east London.
SS Robin on a pontoon

Both authorities firmly believe that building a new tunnel between Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown, and a new bridge at Gallions Reach between Beckton and Thamesmead will provide the only viable long term solution to a problem which has long held back economic growth in this part of London.

A bridge at Gallions Reach would improve accessibility to more than 40 sites either side of the river, transforming their development prospects and creating around 20,000 jobs.

A Silvertown Tunnel would provide much needed relief to traffic congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel and support the development of Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks.

Between Central London and the M25 heading west there are 25 bridge crossings of the River Thames. From Tower Bridge to Dartford, there are just two.

Transport for London are consulting on the river crossings package with the consultation running until 1 February 2013. The proposals include a ferry at Gallions Reach and tunnel at Silvertown.

Both councils believe the proposals do not go far enough and are urging the gap to be bridged and for residents and businesses in the area to give strong support to the fixed link crossing option between Beckton and Thamesmead and the Silvertown Tunnel.

The crossings are supported by business and entrepreneurs and together would maximise the economic potential of the former industrial sites on both sides of the Thames.

Councillor Chris Roberts, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: "New river crossings are vital for this part of London - and we need a viable, long-term solution. For far too long we have put up with congestion, pollution and this barrier to growth. We badly need these long term solutions to ease the pressure on the Blackwall Tunnel and the Woolwich Ferry. The people of south east London have been short-changed for too long while we wait for this issue to be addressed - and properly solved. The quick-fix ferry suggestion at Gallions Reach isn't good enough - we need a real long-term solution to these issues.

"This isn't just about making the immediate area better - London is expanding east, we need to manage that growth and ensure the right infrastructure is in place to fully realise the potential of south east London. It will aid the UK economy as a whole to be able to overcome the barrier of the Thames here and to finally fully connect north and south London."
Sir Robin Wales Mayor of Newham said: "Central and west London have long been recipients of investment and new transport infrastructure.
The economic argument stacks up for investing in east London - a bridge at Gallions Reach would provide value for money and a long term solution to congestion in east London.
"Not only would it serve local needs and local businesses but it would open up the area to wider regeneration and bring economic benefits."