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Proposals for east London Thames bridge attract criticism

NO BRIDGE: Blackwall Tunnel runs under the Thames near the O2 (PA)

PLANS TO build a new bridge across the River Thames in east London are generating opposition from figures in the community.

The proposed bridge would traverse the banks of Beckton and Thamesmead.

Critics, including Gareth Bacon, Conservative councillor for Bexley, southeast London, claim the roads in the affected areas are too small to cope with the volume of traffic the bridge would bring.

Bacon told the BBC that current plans for the bridge are a “mistake”.

When first elected to office inn 2008, London Mayor Boris Johnson originally cancelled planning for the construction of the Thames Gateway Bridge, because public consultations determined hundreds of residents and environmentalists objected.

Over the last decade, plans for the bridge have been restructured twice – and more than £43m has been spent on proposal, consultation and preparatory work.

However, there is fresh impetus for the bridge to go ahead after Transport for London (TfL) carried out a recent public consultation which found significant public support for a new bridge in east London.

Currently, there are only two crossings for lorries and cars between Rotherhithe and Dartford – Woolwich Ferry and Blackwall Tunnel.

The TfL consultation also established that 71 per cent of respondents supported plans to build a fixed bridge at Gallions Reach, which could be completed by 2021.

52 per cent surveyed preferred a ferry crossing instead.

In order to ease road congestion, TfL is keen to increase crossing links in the east of the capital.

“Apart from the opening of the QEII Bridge at Dartford, there has been no increase in the capacity of the highway network across the river in east London for nearly 50 years”, said Michele Dix, the department’s managing director of planning.

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