As part of the large redevelopment of the derelict Millenium Mills in East London, a new footbridge is being planned that will link the housing development with Custom House station for the DLR and Elizabeth line.

Source – planning documents, Moxon Architects with Buro Happold and Eadon Consulting

The development is to the south of the Royal Victoria Dock, and although there’s an existing bridge across the dock to the north side, it’s very high up and the lifts are often broken. It’s also pretty scary to cross when the wind is strong, and not easy for cyclists to use either.

With several thousand people expected to move into the area when it is completed, they needed a new link across the docks.

The new bridge, which is being built in addition to the existing footbridge will cross the Royal Victoria Dock in a snake-like sweep with a number of S curves and will be wide enough for both cyclists and pedestrians to use. The developer notes that curved corners on the bridge present an opportunity to widen the deck and create pockets for lingering.

These ‘belvederes’ are said to be points for additional activities including “seating, signage and potential commercialisation”, for which, you can presume a coffee stall.

They looked at an option for a shorter more direct bridge across the dock, but that meant either a much steeper ramp at either end and probably short lifts as well — but a longer sweeping design gives them the length for gentle slopes up to the bridge to achieve a minimum clearance over the dock.

The central section will also be able to open to allow large boats through.

Red shows the desire route for short bridge compared to final design in green: Source – planning documents, Moxon Architects with Buro Happold and Eadon Consulting

There have been some complaints in the planning consultation that the main beneficiaries will be people moving into the new Millenium Mills development. Then again, a bridge has to have an end point somewhere, and as the development is paying for it, it’s not a huge surprise that it would be close to their development.

People who live to the south of the housing development will be closer to Pontoon Dock station on the DLR, but may still find heading north across the dock is a quicker commute as it gets them to the Elizabeth line station.

The bridge will be funded from a £233 million loan from Homes England which has been provided to support the delivery of homes on the site. This public sector involvement has enabled The Silvertown Partnership to progress with plans on the site further than any other development consortium in the last 40 years. Infrastructure works are now well underway on site.

Step-free access: Source – planning documents, Moxon Architects with Buro Happold and Eadon Consulting

The bridge and jetty team includes:

  • Moxon Architects – Bridge Architect
  • SLA – Jetty design
  • Buro Happold – Engineering and sustainability
  • Eadon Consulting – Specialist mechanical engineer
  • Aecom – Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Arup – Transport
  • Lord Consultants Ltd – Accessibility
  • Eddowes Aviation Safety Ltd – Aviation
  • DP9 – Planning
  • Soundings – Community engagement

The final design: Source – planning documents, Moxon Architects with Buro Happold and Eadon Consulting


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  1. Brian Butterworth says:

    I’m trying to think of a more scary passenger footway in London than the one over the Royal Victoria Dock, and it’s the one that carries the New River over the M25, just west of the Waltham Cross interchange!

  2. Basil Jet says:

    The existing footbridge was designed to be able to have a transporter bridge added which would hang from the bridge and take people across on the level, but that part was never built.

  3. Victoria says:

    This will only be accessible if the excel waterway is open. Been closed for a year now. And will continue this way for two more years! Local residents are always adversely impacted if there is work taking place there

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