Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and Beckett Rankine originally came up with a design for the Thames Barrier Bridge as a response to Transport for London’s Transport Design framework in 2017. Prior to unveiling the Thames Barrier Bridge concept earlier this month (3 June), our team had been in touch with many of the relevant stakeholders including TfL, PLA and the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Newham. We are unaware of any other published design concepts for a bridge at the Thames Barrier and none of these stakeholders has mentioned knowledge of any similar proposals. We are now looking for investors to take the project forward to the next stage and would be interested to hear from colleagues or agencies who have any other insights or studies on the feasibility of a bridge at this location.
The Thames Barrier Bridge is located next to the Thames Barrier, which is expected to remain operational until 2060-2070 or beyond, depending on the rate of sea level rise and life extension works. Eventually, the barrier is likely to be decommissioned once a second barrier is constructed downstream, at which point the machinery may be removed. But the structure is likely to remain as have other redundant elements in the river, such as the London Chatham and Dover Railway piers next to Blackfriars Bridge.
The Thames Barrier has four navigable spans, two for inbound traffic and two for outbound. The need for two navigable spans in each direction is to enable one of the spans to be closed to navigation when its gate is undergoing maintenance. As there are four navigable spans on the barrier the Thames Barrier Bridge is shown with four opening spans to match. In practice it is likely that only one would open at a time, or possibly two if an inbound and outbound ship were transiting together. It is possible that the number of opening bridge spans might be able to be reduced to three but that would reduce the redundancy in the system.