Drivers face Blackwall Tunnel toll to fund new river crossing

Marion Dakers
MOTORISTS will bear the cost of a new Thames crossing in east London, Transport for London said yesterday.

TfL has not set aside any money in its budget for the planned tunnel at Silvertown or a new vehicle ferry service, and said the “most appropriate way to fund the projects would be to charge a toll”.

Drivers using Blackwall Tunnel, which is currently free, will face charges of around £2 for cars, £2.50 for vans and £5 for large trucks, under preliminary plans put out for consultation by TfL.

The levies could be hiked during rush hour or lowered in quiet times to manage traffic.

Silvertown Tunnel is expected to cost around £600m to build, and will not be open until at least 2021. Users of this new tunnel will also be charged a toll.

TfL said both tunnels would have to impose levies to prevent motorists flocking to the older crossing to avoid the charge and causing long delays.

But the Rotherhithe tunnel would be spared because it serves a different set of destinations, TfL said.

As well as the extra tunnel, the transport authorities envisage a new vehicle ferry crossing between Thamesmead and Beckton, which would open by around 2017. The Gallions Reach Ferry is expected to replace the Woolwich Ferry.

Londoners have until February to submit their views on the plans.