Transport for London (TfL) has been granted a Development Consent Order (DCO) by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) to deliver the Silvertown Tunnel – a new twin-bore road tunnel under the Thames in east London.
The DCO is the formal process by which the Government gives the green light to any development categorised as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).
The tunnel, which is set to open in 2023, will help ease the current serious congestion at Blackwall Tunnel and improve the reliability and resilience of the road network in east London.
While consent was confirmed today by the Secretary of State, a number of conditions were included. TfL is now working with local boroughs, landowners, stakeholders and other affected parties to understand the implications of these conditions, so that this vital infrastructure project can start as soon as possible.
The new Silvertown Tunnel will be privately financed through a Design, Build, Finance and Maintain contract, with the successful delivery partner receiving payments from TfL once the tunnel is open and available for use. These will be made in part via a user charge on both the new tunnel and the existing Blackwall Tunnel, which will also help to ensure traffic is effectively managed and journey reliability and air quality are improved.
TfL will also be progressing procurement of a contractor to design and build the tunnel, with a look to confirm a preferred bidder in winter 2018 and award the contract in early 2019 so that construction can begin later next year. During construction, TfL is committed to ensuring that the majority of construction material is transported by river, that all on-site construction machinery at least meets the Mayor’s Non-Road Mobile Machinery Low Emission Zone Standards, and that any vehicles working on the scheme are Euro VI and comply with the Mayor’s new Direct Vision Standard.
Two bidders – Cintra Global Ltd and Hochtief PPP Solutions GmbH – have been shortlisted to design and build the Tunnel. As part of the tender, all contractors will be required to deliver a range of measures to reduce construction impacts, which includes:
- Reducing road use by construction vehicles, with more than half (at least 55 per cent) of all materials for the project carried via the river;
- All vehicles working on the construction of the Silvertown Tunnel will be required to be Euro VI and compliant with the Mayor’s new Direct Vision Standard;
- Developing an extensive Community Engagement Plan, describing how it will keep the local community informed prior to and throughout the works;
- Creating around 150 local apprenticeships, job starts and educational opportunities.
The delivery of the Silvertown Tunnel was included in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and forms part of the Mayor’s wider plans for sustainable river crossings across the Thames. These include a new walking and cycling crossing between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf as well as looking at the feasibility for a new DLR crossing between Gallions Reach and Thamesmead, along with options for further sustainable crossings in west London.