Rotherhithe - Canary Wharf bridge scrapped

One of South East London's biggest, and most easily fixed, structural problems is the lack of river crossings, which results in a disconnect with the north of the city.

So, having already scrapped the Thames Gateway bridge and pulled the plug on the cross river tram, you might have hoped the Mayor would want to throw us a bone by supporting a bridge that even the Greens could get on board with.

A £65 million project to build a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf had been developed by Sustrans (the national cycling charity) and had been subject to a feasibility study by TfL, which concluded that the ideal location was between Durand's Wharf, a park on the Southwark bank, and Westferry Road. The planned lift bridge would have been able to raise itself to varying heights, depending on the nature of the craft passing underneath and would have linked to public transport networks on either side of the river.

But according to a Rotherhithe website dedicated to the project, Boris has decided not to fund it:

"A Southwark Council's Officer told participants of the "Transport Workshop" at the Canada Water Area Actions Plan (CWAAP) Public Meeting on 4 February 2009 that the Mayor of London has announced that Transport for London (TfL) will not be funding the Rotherhithe-Canary Wharf Thames Bridge Project. This is a great disappointment. Cllr. Paul Noblet and Simon Hughes MP have separately stated at last night's meeting that they will try see how they may help rescue this project."

Even with the Mayor's support, it's likely that the project would have been subject to revision, given the ambitious design and the delays that traditionally dog any London infrastructure project. However, the project had been gathering momentum and, since it would have provided an important new connection to Canary Wharf (a commercial district whose growth is being constrained by limited transport infrastructure), the project's supporters could have hoped to have raised some contributions from developers on both sides of the river. Without TfL backing, the project has no chance.

The decision to strangle the bridge at birth is more evidence that the Mayor doesn't do Keynesianism any more than he does East London.


The Cat Man said...

This is a wasted opportunity, and would of created a degree of economic regneration in those areas.

The more crossings between SE london and the Docklands means less people travelling through the centre or west of London which means economic activity in the west will be impacted.

It is the west/wealthy parts of london who predominantly voted for BoJo, it is not in his constituents interests to reduce the wealth of his voters.

It is therefore not surprising he has done this.

People should start thinking about what else he is likely to do. Fortunately it is too late to cancel the ELL (although if it wasn't I am convinced he would of done so) but people should maybe start to expect half the scheduled journeys or trains running on the ELL line then previously advertised, possibly with reduced carriage sizes too.

patrick1971 said...

Agree with the Cat Man about BoJo's support; he got elected on a doughnut strategy and as such is very reluctant to do stuff in the inner boroughs. Ken was pretty much the same with the outer boroughs, so it's a case of what goes around comes around, really. A big shame about the bridge but it's interesting to note that this was seen as the ideal site. There was/will be again the East London Line river crossing, plus the Jubilee Line crossing also at this point.

Anonymous said...

Catman what makes you think he could do that even if wanted to? Facts please!

Anonymous said...

Catman, I hadn't realised the mayors authority reached as far as setting train schedules and deciding upon the number of trains that should be run on certain routes. The guy really must learn to delegate more.

It’s a shame about this bridge and I like the idea of it being purely for pedestrians and cyclists. However, is the bridge a victim of the Olympics i.e. the vast amount of available funding is going to the construction of the Olympics which can’t leave much left over particularly when the initial costing of the Olympics seems to have been done without the use of a calculator and grows every few months?

Headhunter said...

This is probably a result of the collapse in private funding for the Olympics which will have to made up by taxpayers. BoZo probably thinks enough money is being spent in east London

Anonymous said...

No, but TfL would have an influence and he can influence that. Having said that the trains are being built and I think the DfT would have to agree any degradation to the proposed service so it should be safe. Nothing can be taken for granted at the mo though, I'm hiding in the cellar if it gets much worse.

Anonymous said...

mmm... doughnut strategy

Anonymous said...

What a shocking shame! I can't believe the cost of a pedestrian/cyclist only bridge over the Thames near Rotherhithe would be that great, in the big scheme of things - and it would have saved cyclists having to take the congested, cyclist-unfriendly roads to the bridges or, worse, using the Rotherhithe Tunnel. It's mostly those roads, which I consider especially dangerous to cyclists, that stop me cycling into town. Can't anyone appeal to BoJo's well-photographed cycle-friendliness on this one? Or suggest that crushing a relatively small project like this won't help him win his argument that it's feasible to build London a new main airport from scratch on a platform in the Thames estuary?

Anonymous said...

Its a more honest way of saying there isn't the money for it. Ken would have said yes, but it would have been held up for lack of finance. Same result.
I'm sure it will get built in the future when there is some more money about.
Oh and what would the cross river tram done for this area of London (as it went Peckham, E&C, Waterloo).

Anonymous said...

this is so disappointing. The thames gateway bridge and now this!

I was driving southbound on the A12 towards the blackwall tunnel. The traffic queue tailed back to the stratford tesco. It was awful. This seems to happen almost every sunday (when I go to see my parents). one night I was stuck in the queue for 2 hours! There needs to be more crossings from the south east and as a cyclist (during the week) I don't feel safe in the small pedestrian tunnel (greenwich).

Boris why don't you just concentrate on removing the congestion charge/bringing back useless new buses and helping all your rich people become richer- oh that is what u r doing!

Anonymous said...

yes doughnut strategy clearly.

Spelman, the Conservative Chairman once made a speech going on about this.

I would have thought it more sensible to fix the core of any given city and then move outwards from there.

With everything in trumoil and loyalties moving around, I would have thought there would be plenty of potential votes for anyone who proposing to help SE london.

patrick1971 said...

"I don't feel safe in the small pedestrian tunnel (greenwich)."

I've not been in the pedestrian tunnel since the DLR was built. It used to be extremely busy and well used, with lots of people getting off at the then terminus, Island Gardens, and walking across to Greenwich. Is it still well used, or do most people get the DLR? The Woolwich tunnel is quite scary; I hope Greenwich's hasn't become so.

Anonymous said...

Why would the mayor allow the economy in the west to suffer?
If it aint broke don't fix it!
There is a saying in business that you should always back your winners as it is easier to get an improvement out of them than the losers you should follow accordingly. The West should take priority as it works and is less of a financial drain.
To blame Boris for the scrapping of this bridge on the grounds that he is looking after his W London chums is so unfair. SE London needs to stop wallowing in its leftie self-righteous mung bean paranoia, back Boris and pray more ex public schoolboys move into the area to drag it up by its bootlaces.
Then he might feel more like investing.

Pete said...

I'm ex-public school, do you think that will help?

Oh, but then I voted for Ken at the last election and cycle to work.

I don't eat beans though.

Anonymous said...

Have you been to Harlesden, acton or alperton? Not everyone in the North/West works and excuse me but I more than contribute to the ecomomy both financially and long working hours.

The divide between north and south just gets bigger. We all live in London afterall. It is definitely harder to get around on public transport in south london. we need all the help we can get

Group51 said...

Hallo! I'm also an ex-"independent" school boy who voted for Ken and cycles to work. It would have been interesting if the bridge could speed up access to the east or west end. The tunnel at Greenwich is a big disincentive when the lifts don't work.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bike -riding ex public school type too, and one of the laziest good-fer-nothings I've ever encountered.

Anonymous said...

I would imagine it was scrapped because it's £65 million for something that could only carry pedestrians and cyclists and not vehicles.

If you want something to carry only people & bicycles across the river, then you could construct a cable car type contraption for a lot less money.

Anonymous said...

typical... Boris willing to fund pedestrian/cyclist bridge between pimlico and nine elms and drops SE and E London.

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