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Study makes case for £88m east London crossing


A new, feasibility study has made the case for an £88 million bridge across the Thames connecting Rotherhithe with Canary Wharf

The report, drawn up by reForm Architects, was commissioned by cycling charity Sustrans in June 2015, after the government included an east London crossing in the National Infrastructure Plan.

The investigation by the Southwark-based practice and engineering firm Elliott Wood concluded that an opening pedestrian and cycle bridge would be deliverable between Durand’s Wharf in Rotherhithe and Impounding Lock at Canary Wharf.

This design would allow the river to continue to be used as a navigable route for boats.

The proposed bridge would have a central span of 184m and ramps would rise from each bank with two 5m-wide decks creating separate routes for pedestrians and cyclists.

If built, it would become the first opening bridge constructed across the Thames since Tower Bridge in 1894.

Sustrans claims that by 2020 there would be around 2.1 million bicycle journeys and more than 1 million journeys by foot across the proposed bridge.

The plans were revealed a week after Terry Farrell called on the next mayor of London to build more bridges in the east.

He said that low-level bridges, which lift a few times a day to let tall ships past, would be a much cheaper alternative, and should be used to act as a catalyst for mixed-use development on either side of the river and turbocharge existing plans for areas such as the Royal Docks and Thamesmead.

Nik Randall of reForm Architects, said: ‘Our work has demonstrated that whilst other opening bridge types present problems for this location, it is possible to design a bridge that meets these challenges with an elegant, welcoming and unique structure. 

‘Our design [will respond to the significance of its setting], creating an internationally recognisable landmark. Its unique and elegant form and operation will become an attraction for visitors. It will enhance the views along and across the Thames, providing scale and interest in the way that the ships on the river itself do.’

Gary Elliott, director at Elliott Wood, added: ‘This is a hugely complex engineering challenge that we are delighted to be involved with. The bridge is fitting for such a significant location and would deliver tremendous benefits for Londoners – not only in improving connectivity between the currently underserved area of Rotherhithe and the north bank of the river, but by offering pedestrians and cyclists a dedicated crossing that is safe and enjoyable to use.’


Readers' comments (5)

  • A great project, well conceived and well designed. Different proposals for Thames bridges are not mutually exclusive, and we should admire this as an example of creative thinking by a committed designer, taken up by a national body because it is a really good idea. No competition required.

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  • chris Dyson

    At first glance this is an elegant an beautiful scheme, more of these bridges in the east end will indeed really help our congested road network and ease the flow of people whether by foot cycle or car...as movement particularly by car becomes increasingly challenging in central London.

    We must urge our mayor to continue the good work of the GLA transport department to tackle these issues in a comprehensive and holistic way.

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  • The Mayor should forget the Garden Bridge and put his (our) money on this one!

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  • Good to see positive comments on an elegant, practical and ingenious design for a genuinely worthwhile project that really will be a public asset.

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  • Wonderful; Farrell is spot on with his low level bridge initiative and this a brilliant exemplar. Bryan Avery

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