Wednesday, 21 April 2010

TfL responds to call for greater engagement with the public on Blackwall - now we need solutions!

TfL have just circulated a note about two upcoming events they've arranged in order to provide the public with more information about the ongoing works at the Blackwall Tunnel, which I've included below.

The meetings, which are open to all, will be held at the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf on Friday 14 May and at the O2 in Greenwich on Saturday 15 May.

These attempts to improve relations with the residents of East and South East London over Blackwall are, without doubt, a step in the right direction, but more meaningful action is still required to address problems caused by the closures and, more generally, the lack of river crossings east of Tower Bridge.

Sadly, I've not yet heard anything back from the Boris Johnson about my proposal to keep the Woolwich Ferry open to southbound traffic during the closures - even though he's had over two weeks to reply. While I understand that this is a busy time, with the General Election in full swing, campaigning on behalf of the Conservatives shouldn't come before the needs of Londoners.

Public invited to find out more about the Blackwall Tunnel refurbishment programme

Transport for London (TfL) will hold public meetings at the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf on Friday 14 May and at the O2 in Greenwich on Saturday 15 May, to discuss the safety improvement work which is being carried out on the northbound Blackwall Tunnel.

At the meetings, TfL staff will discuss plans for a number of future weekend closures of the northbound tunnel and will answer any questions from the public about the refurbishment programme.

The weekend closures are needed to carry out works which cannot be completed either safely or practically during the regular overnight closure programme. TfL is currently discussing dates with local boroughs and stakeholders and will announce when the weekend closures will occur once these have been agreed.

TfL’s contractors will use the first set of weekend closures to start work on upgrading the Blackwall Tunnel’s ventilation shafts – which will allow smoke from vehicle fires to be removed from the tunnel more quickly and effectively. In addition, sections of the tunnel’s walls will be relined with concrete, which will make it easier to repair in future.

Garrett Emmerson, Chief Operating Officer for London Streets at TfL, said: “The northbound Blackwall Tunnel refurbishment works are vital to ensure the continued safe use of the tunnel for years to come. We are holding public meetings to discuss the safety upgrade work and weekend closures programme, and I would like to encourage anyone interested or affected by the closures to come along and talk to us about the work we’re doing on the tunnel.”

The refurbishment will improve safety and maintenance, ensuring the efficient running of the tunnel for years to come. New fire and incident detection systems, new lighting, a new CCTV camera system and better access for emergency services will be installed as part of the modernisation works and safety improvements in the tunnel, which carries 50,000 vehicles a day.

Work on the refurbishment will be completed by December 2012. For more information about the scheme, please visit .