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.