Yes, the silly season is upon us but fear not, your intrepid Radicals are not going to start writing about the weather (warmer than Barbados, you say?) or the latest shenanigans of OneWestZoneLifeDirection.
Some of our readers will have received an email from TFL on consultations on a proposed new river crossing (tfl.gov.uk/new-river-crossings). This is in addition to the proposed Silvertown tunnel and there will be a separate consultation on that project later in the year. This consultation is looking at options further to the east to help improve capacity and ease congestion.
The first is to upgrade the existing Woolwich ferry. At a cost of up to £200m this would replace the aging vessels currently in operation and include the infrastructure upgrades required to support a new service. Of note is that the current free service would be replaced with a fee service. It could be in place in the early 2020’s.
Second is for a new ferry service further east at Gallions Reach (Thamesmead to Beckton). This could be operational in a similar time to option 1 at a cost of up to £250m. To note it would replace the Woolwich ferry once completed.
Third up is a bridge at Gallions Reach that could be operational by 2025. Up front cost could be up to £600m but annual operating costs would be around £0.5m – significantly less than the £3.5m to operate the ferry services. The bridge would replace the existing Woolwich ferry.
The final option would be a bridge between Belvedere and Rainham. Much further east than our area of interest but may benefit the local area less. This is the most expensive and least developed plan so it is likely to be beyond 2025 before completed and leaves a question mark over what to do with the Woolwich ferry.
We Radicals like the Woolwich ferry but it does seem a bit antiquated when an alternative option is a new bridge. It feels a bit short-termist to argue a bridge is too expensive when the operating costs of the ferry are high and Radical heads say a bridge is the most efficient option for traffic flows (bad weather will still cause a new ferry service to stop operating).
As usual, if you have a view and want a say head to the website.