Is this the end for the Woolwich Free Ferry?

Revealed: Plans for new Thames boat and tunnel crossings to Newham

Talks of the axe for the Woolwich Free Ferry for a new boat crossing the River Thames have moved into a second phase, proposers Transport for London revealed.

Initial consultation was in February now TfL has further developed the proposals for a new vehicle river crossings at Gallions Reach, Beckton with options to build a road tunnel at Silvertown.

Over 90 per cent of those who responded to a questionaire agreed there is a need for more river crossings in east and south east London.

TfL say their proposals are designed to make the area more attractive to live, visit, and do business by reducing delays and making journey times more reliable.

Alongside the “considerable investment” in the rail network, including the delivery of Crossrail, these additional crossings will “support the continued growth and regeneration of east and south east London.”

The proposed new road tunnel would run underneath the River Thames connecting the Royal Docks with the Greenwich Peninsula, relieving pressure on the existing Blackwall Tunnel and providing an alternate route across the river.

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It would carry all sizes of vehicles, including buses, alleviating the closures caused by over-height vehicles attempting to use the Blackwall Tunnel.

And, say TfL, it would support the future development of areas, which have the potential to create 13,000 new jobs and 24,500 new homes over the next two decades.

The Secretary of State for Transport designated the Silvertown Tunnel a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project,’ enabling TfL to conduct a more structured, quicker and simpler planning process.

The proposed ferry services would provide a river crossing linking Beckton directly with Thamesmead at Gallions Reach, improving connections, particularly for business related traffic.

Gallions Reach Ferry could replace the 50-year-old Woolwich Free Ferry, offering a better frequency of service and increased capacity. It would take about 10 minutes to cross the Thames, including boarding time. TfL claim it would be managed more effectively, preventing ferry traffic delaying vehicles on the surrounding road network.

London Mayor Boris Johnson hailed the river crossings proposals as addressing problems that exist at the Blackwall Tunnel and with the Woolwich Ferry, and to support the real opportunity for jobs and growth in east and south east London.

The earliest opening date for the proposed river crossings are 2017 for the ferry and 2021 for the Silvertown Tunnel.

New consultation will look at the locations of the river crossing in much more detail andlook at a range of funding options, including Community Infrastructure Levy, and the possibility and benefits of tolling.

Consultation closes on February 1 2013. More details and toi share your views visit: or for a printed information leaflet call 0843 2221234.

* On the north side of the Thames the Silvertown Tunnel would link to a junction with the existing roundabout off Tidal Basin Road. This roundabout would connect the Silvertown Tunnel with the A12 and A13 via Lower Lea Crossing running west, and more local roads eastwards into the Royal Docks. On the south side, northbound traffic would enter the tunnel along a new spur branching off from the existing Blackwall Tunnel Approach road.

The Gallions Reach Ferry would be connected to the current road network on the north side to Atlantis Avenue or Armada Way. On the south side the ferry could link to the A2016 at Western Way with a new access road. TfL would also aim to extend Barnham Drive across the ferry approach road - allowing local access between central and west Thamesmead. In each case there would be sufficient room for queuing traffic and this traffic would not impact significantly on the area as a result.