Plans for a pedestrian and cyclist bridge across the Thames linking Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf have been put on hold, due to a shortage of funding.

The bridge was one of several proposals suggested for a river crossing to replace the existing ferry service. It would have linked the two sides of the river and been exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists.

In a letter from the Deputy Mayor for Transport, Heidi Alexander, it was revealed that the project was being put on hold pending further reviews of alternatives.

“I am writing to inform you that today the Programmes and Investment Committee of the Transport for London (TfL) Board has agreed that TfL should pause development work on proposals for a walking and cycling bridge between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe. The committee has concluded that the project should revert to the feasibility stage of development where strategic alternatives, such as a ferry service, can be reassessed.”

The main issue is that TfL currently only has enough money allocated for a £350 million project, but the bridge is now expected to cost anywhere from £360 to £600 million.

The deputy mayor added that the bridge is “unaffordable in the short to medium term, particularly in the context of TfL’s wider financial challenges.”

With ongoing costs of around £800,000 per month going into planning the bridge, the letter said that it would be “irresponsible” to keep spending money on planning work considering the “low likelihood” that the bridge would be built in the near term.

TfL also looked at third-party funding – for which read, sponsorship, but struggled to find someone to pick up the extra bill.

They have looked at alternative bridge proposals, although it seems not at the proposed sunken tunnel option.

It is wisely said that there are few more vocal lobby groups in London than the cyclists, and the Mayor of London’s decision is going to face fierce criticism and is not helped in coming just a few days after the Mayor’s office lambasted Kensington Council for blocking a cycle route in West London.

It’s also rather awkward that the environmentally friendly cyclist bridge is to be cancelled while the controversial Silvertown road tunnel proceeds as normal.


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  1. CityLover says:

    I wrote to Boris Johnson after the first thing he did was cancel the bridge in 2008. he never replied, but I never believed it still wouldn’t be built 11 years later!!!!

  2. Cllr Andrew Wood says:

    As a reminder there is an existing pedestrian ferry on this route, the Hilton hotel ferry
    TfL will now look at upgrading the ferry option instead and Beckett Rankine on Wednesday night proposed 3 new ferry crossings in east London. The ferries would be electric roll on roll off ferries (up to 3 at each crossing) able to carry bikes and pedestrians (like those used in Amsterdam)
    As a reminder due to the need for ships to pass this site the bridge would have had to close on a regular basis for them to pass by
    It has been clear for some time now that the bridge was just too expensive and it is a pity that the ferry option was not pursued first (as you can always move boats and pontoons elsewhere)

  3. JP says:

    Third time lucky, kinda.
    Regardless of the merits of such a bridge, the ‘pause’ could be a sign of a bit of common sense breaking out.
    i) Garden Bridge: how many millions cd have been saved in monthly prep costs if someone had said “no” earlier?
    ii) Crossrail: how much closer to lift off wd we be if concerns had been passed on up the chain sooner &c.&c.?
    iii) Rotherhithe: painful lessons learned sooner equate to fewer future foul-ups.

  4. Simon Colenutt says:

    The ferry being aluded too in Amsterdam is pretty good; the crucial thing though is it’s free at the point of use and its linking the touristic heart of Amsterdam, not a business district to er… nowhere in particular (but being on a commuter flow) I suppose I’m saying the devil is in the detail

  5. ANOOP says:

    360 to 600M for this bridge and 800K monthly planning expenses ? Which doesn’t look reasonable

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