Current Status

The Mayor gave the unequivocal go-ahead for the bridge on 4th October 2016, with the prospect that it would be completed in 2020.

  • The consutation period has ended
  • TfL are considering alternative designs.  There is controversy over a rumour that TfL has excluded all Bascule designs,  which includes the popular design which has huge local support

The following notes derive from meetings we have had with TfL and pubilshed information

Approximate Timetable

Consultation Nov 2017 – Jan 2018

Design, documentation, Impact analysys etc in prep for TWAO – during 2018

Submit Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) – early 2019

Public Inquiry (assumed) – during 2019

Decision – early 2020

Completion – 2022

TfL Consultation 8 Nov 2017 -8  Jan 2018

Please click on the link to get further information from TfL and have your say!


  • Consultation period 8 November 2017 – 8 January 2018
  • Consideration given to Bridge,  enhanced ferry and tunnel – with the bridge being the preferred option
  • Three bridge routes are being considered:

  • There are no preconceptions.  In particular the route, design and height of the bridge are all up for consideration.  This is a departure from provious assumptions which were driven by PLA preferences

Our Initial Response

We are pleased that TfL are now fully engaged with the project.

This is tempered by initial disappointment that the whole process has become very bureaucratic. Timelines have been pushed out,  with the initial promise from Mayor Sadiq Khan of a 2020 delivery slipping to 2022.

This may partly be due to a more cautious approach following learnings from the Garden Bridge experience.

There is no doubt in our minds that the TWAO approach introduces more process, but on balance we feel that because it elevates the decision making process away from local government and encompasses a lot of the procedural/ planning steps,  and is typical for infrastructure projects, it may well be the most secure and pragmatic approach long term.

As you would expect, we are still pushing for the bridge option. An enhanced ferry would simply not in our view address the requirement because it would eliminate the benefits of a fixed route and be significantly less used. Although a tunnel would have many attractions, we believe the cost:benefit ratio rules it out

Regarding the bridge height vs frequency of opening, there are a too many unknowns at present, including whether certain types of river traffic could be controlled to either use specified openings (so several vessels could use a single opening) or be limited to off-peak timings. But in general, we would lean towards a “middle” bridge height, between the two extremes, being as a balance between the number of openings (disruption for those crossing) and the height and consequential ramps length generated.


The central alignment is of course the same as the well-known ReForm/Elliott Wood ( design. This route was imposed by the PLA requirements as defined at the time, but since these requirements are now subject to further consideration, two further possibilities are being offered.

We consider the Southern alignment to be a non-starter; it combines an inconvenient landing point on the East side with a very tight route, adjacent to existing development.

Our view on the central alignment is that it was only ever proposed due to percieved constraints from the PLA which are no longer applicable.  Neither end is as well located for existing routes as the Northern Alignment,  and it presents the challenge of being a longer crossing.

The Northern alignment is intriguing and has many advantages:

  • Short and direct route – benefiting construction and users
  • Aligned with National Cycle Route 425 and footpaths from Russia Dock Woodlands
  • Aligned with the main walking/cycling route  into the centre of Canary Wharf
  • Intersects National Cycle route 1,  connecting to the Superhighway
  • Because Westferry Circus is elevated, the height alignment (ramps, steps, lift) is less demanding.
  • Because it will be adjacent to the Hilton Doubletree Hotel there will be fewer safety concerns, expecially at night, compared to the other routes

The routing on the West side will be somewhat challenging but would be well worth resolving considering the obvious merits of this location.

Our current preference is for this route.


Bridge Design

Agreement on the detailed design is still some way off. Regarding the ReForm/Elliott Wood ( design, we understand that insofar as the constraints have changed, there is no reason why this design cannot be modified for different heights and spans or to suit any of the locations under consideration

This design is very popular locally, with 92.3% of respondents to our poll preferring a speedy implementation of it rather than for TfL to seek alternative designs. Since a rapid process is no longer on the table, there will now be opportunities for other designs to come forward, but this design still sets a high standard against which others will be judged


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