Transport for London (TfL) has named the Riverlinx consortium as the preferred bidder to build a new tunnel under the Thames in East London, with work due to start this year.
The controversial Silvertown tunnel, which is set to open in 2025, will link the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks. The project will be procured through a Design, Build, Finance and Maintain contract, meaning the financial risk for construction and an initial maintenance period will sit with the private sector rather than TfL.
Payments by TfL will only start once the tunnel is open and available for use. There will be a user charge at both the new tunnel and the existing Blackwall tunnel, despite London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, criticizing the proposals prior to his election.
The charge will both fund the construction and maintenance costs and help to manage traffic demand and journey reliability, TfL said. Both tunnels and the surrounding area will also fall within the expanded Ultra-Low Emission Zone.
Alex Williams, TfL’s director of city planning, said: “The Silvertown Tunnel, which is vital to support London's economy, has been designed to resolve the existing congestion problem around Blackwall, improve overall air quality and enable new cross-river bus routes to be introduced.”