The Thames Barrier could get a pedestrian bridge next to it under plans that have been shown off by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands.

The proposed 530-metre long “Barrier Bridge” is a multi-span, double-leaf bascule bridge that would be situated immediately upstream or downstream of the Thames Barrier.

Yellow steel box girders support an aluminium mesh deck and with a clearance of 15 metres above high water spring tides, most boats will be able to pass underneath. However when larger boats do need to move through (about 10 times per day), the multiple piers, each with their own counterweights, create a series of opening spans.

Although fixed road bridges have been proposed at Gallions Reach and Belvedere to replace the Woolwich Ferry, these high-level links with their very long approach ramps will not be suitable for pedestrians or cyclists.

The proposal at the Thames Barrier would create a viable pedestrian link between Charlton and Silvertown. It would also certainly create a useful link in a part of London that is otherwise impassable other than by a long detour.

It is however just a concept, and the necessary funding is currently no where to be seen. The promo video also shows all the bascules raising for a single cruise ship to pass through, which seems unlikely, as you’d only need to raise one set at a time.

As it happens, there is already a pedestrian link across the Thames at the Barrier, but only for staff — a long concrete tunnel that runs under the barrier right across the river.

Also, is it just me, or do those bascules on the bridge look a bit familiar though? Make the bridge look like a cluster of Imperial shuttles, and I’ll start the crowd funding campaign immediately.


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  1. John Davison says:

    This would not replace the ferries’ provision for motor vehicles but would simply supplement the existing pedestrian tunnels at Greenwich and Woolwich.

  2. Rob Butler says:

    Why build a bridge when there’s a foot tunnel just a few miles away.
    Just think how impressive the foot tunnel would look with an investment of money and at a fraction of the cost to build a bridge.
    Also and more importantly, the bridge would obscure one of London’s engineering marvels of the 20th Century.

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