Transport for London (TfL) has announced two weekend closures of the southbound Blackwall Tunnel, which are required to support the opening of the new Silvertown Tunnel in 2025.

The closures, which will take place across the weekends of 20-22 July and 17-19 August, will allow for the final road configuration to be implemented, as well as road resurfacing and safety barrier works to be carried out. These dates have been chosen to avoid key events happening in London during the summer.

Plans for the Silvertown Tunnel were first developed in 2012. When it opens in 2025, the new tunnel will help reduce traffic congestion and deliver faster, more reliable journeys in east London, making travel times up to 20 minutes quicker. There will also be a significant increase in bus services across the river and a proposed new cycle shuttle service through the tunnel for cyclists.

Across the weekends, the Blackwall Tunnel will be closed for southbound traffic and drivers will need to take alternative routes. Northbound traffic will not be affected by these closures as traffic will be diverted through the southbound Blackwall Tunnel when required. The weekend closures will start at 00:01 on the Saturday morning, with southbound traffic being restored by 05:00 on the Monday morning at the latest. Further information about the closures can be found at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/blackwall-tunnel

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Drivers are advised to plan their routes in advance, checking before they travel so they can consider any other potential traffic impacts or restrictions, such as the height and weight limits at Rotherhithe Tunnel and Tower Bridge, both of which are outside the Congestion Charge zone. Roads and alternative river crossings in east and central London are expected to be extremely busy with traffic around Rotherhithe Tunnel and along the A13 Commercial Road between Canning Town and Whitechapel heavier than normal over the weekends due to the closures. The Woolwich Ferry, which now departs every fifteen minutes, seven days a week, will be in operation across the weekends. Where possible, people should consider using public transport or walking and cycling via other river crossings to complete their journey.

Drivers of HGVs, as well as vans more than two metres in height or weighing more than two tonnes, are advised to consider routes away from central London across the weekends where possible. To help inform drivers of the works, additional variable messaging signs will be placed on the main roads approaching the Blackwall Tunnel. TfL has also worked with third party app providers, such as Waze, to help ensure drivers who regularly use the Blackwall Tunnel are alerted to the southbound closure and that the closure is shown in any route-planning over the weekend.

TfL will also take the opportunity to carry out works within and around the Blackwall tunnel, to help deliver future maintenance work more efficiently and ensure the tunnel can continue to safely operate.

Nick Fairholme, Director of Capital Delivery – Systems at TfL, said: “We are now in the final phase of works to complete the Silvertown Tunnel and these closures will help us to to start to get the tunnel ready to open. We appreciate that these planned weekend works will have an impact on some drivers and are doing everything we can to limit potential disruption – including ensuring a northbound route through the Blackwall Tunnel is maintained throughout.”

The route 108, the only bus route that operates through the Blackwall Tunnel, will be split in two, operating between both Lewisham and North Greenwich and between Canning Town and Stratford. Customers are advised to then change onto the Jubilee line to cross the river to complete their journeys. TfL will also ensure that customers of the route 108 who then use the Jubilee line as part of their journey over the weekend will avoid being charged for the Tube section of their journey via an automatic refund which will be processed after the weekend. The Mayor’s Hopper fare will also mean that customers won’t be charged for any additional bus journeys on the other side of the river, providing they begin within an hour of touching in on the first bus. From 00:01 on the Monday mornings of the closure, northbound buses will return to their normal route and southbound buses will be diverted via Tower Bridge until the tunnel is re-opened to southbound traffic.

Work on delivering the new Silvertown Tunnel, which will open in 2025, continues to progress well. Both of the 1.1km tunnels have now been fully tunnelled, with the ‘cut and cover’ sections now covered and safety critical equipment now being installed within the tunnels, as well as within the tunnel portals. Work is also progressing well on the new road layout around Tidal Basin Roundabout in Newham, including new walking and cycling paths to make it easier for people accessing the Royal Docks via the Lower Lea Crossing.

For the latest on how roads are running, please visit: tfl.gov.uk/traffic/status/

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