TfL are building a tunnel under the Thames linking Silvertown to the Greenwich Peninsula in east London.

The tunnel - which is planned to open in 2025 – aims to help reduce chronic congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel and allow for better public transport links, including more cross-river bus journeys.

Once the Silvertown Tunnel opens, drivers must pay a user charge for using either the Blackwall or the Silvertown Tunnel.

The exact charge levels for various types of vehicles using the new tunnel will be decided closer to the opening date.

The new 1.4km twin-bore road tunnel under the Thames will be the first in London in more than 30 years.

A modern tunnel combined with a user charge and improved cross-river public transport will improve the reliability and resilience of the wider road network, according to TfL. 

Plans also include improvements for walking, cycling and the areas near the tunnel entrances as part of major regeneration of both sides of the river.

Incidents with larger, unsuitable vehicles frequently cause delays and closures of the Victorian-built Blackwall Tunnel.

Idling traffic builds up, often leading to tailbacks of several miles in just a few minutes.

This increases journey times as drivers choose longer routes to avoid the tunnel.

The Silvertown Tunnel scheme has been built to reduce this chronic congestion experienced in east London today, hoping to improve journey times and keep traffic moving efficiently.

What has been done so far?

• In July 2023, the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) completed work on the second bore of the Silvertown Tunnel. It means that all main tunnelling work on the new river crossing was delivered in under a year

• The spoil from the second tunnel was conveyed through the first bored tunnel to Newham, where over 780,000 tonnes were removed by barge

• Significant progress continues on both sides of the river to develop the two tunnel portal buildings

• Construction of the Portal Building and Service Buildings on the north side of the Thames has progressed, with waterproofing and post excavation works developed

• Construction of the Portal Building on the south side of the Thames in Greenwich is well underway. Excavation of the South Portal entrance is in progress

• A new walking and cycling bridge across the A102 has been installed. This bridge - with an improved lighting system and modern design standards - replaces the earlier 1960s footbridge

• The new walking and cycling bridge opened for use in June 2023, ahead of the removal of the existing bridge. A temporary ramp to the new bridge across the A102 is available for cyclists and pedestrians, including those using mobility aids, until the new permanent ramp is installed

What is being worked on?

• With the main tunnelling work completed, TfL are now excavating the eight cross-passages. These will run between the tunnels and help offer a safe route out of the tunnel

• By the end of 2023, the main road surface within the tunnel will start to be installed. This will allow for testing and final fitout of the tunnel systems to begin

• Work on the 'cut and cover' sections of the Silvertown tunnel, including portal entrances, is being delivered. As well as the new road layout into the Tidal Basin roundabout in Newham, and link roads into the A2 south of the Blackwall Tunnel

• A temporary bridge has been installed on Millennium Way. This allows the excavation of the 'cut and cover' section to continue beneath it

• The designs for the walking, cycling and landscaping improvements - these will be delivered around either side of the tunnel entrances

• Developing proposals for a new cross-river cycling facility as part of the 2025 Silvertown Tunnel opening to help cyclists cross the Thames safely

• TfL consulting until September 10 2023 on the proposed cross-river cycling service, to allow cyclists to cross the Thames safely and accessibly when the tunnel opens in 2025.