Rotherhithe Tunnel And Vauxhall Bridge Face Closure Over Funding Concerns

The Rotherhithe Tunnel and Vauxhall Bridge in London require ‘urgent’ repairs, but TFL warns of closure without funding.

The Rotherhithe Tunnel and Vauxhall Bridge in London require ‘urgent’ repairs, but Transport for London (TfL) has warned that both could be facing closure if funding is not secured to undertake the essential works.

The Standard reports that the London Assembly has warned that there is ‘serious concern’ over the potential closure of some of the capital’s river crossings due to TfL’s current finance issues.

The Rotherhithe Tunnel, which is a crucial link between south-east London and the north of the river, is in a parlous state and need of repair, while Vauxhall Bridge requires waterproofing work to safeguard the future of its structure.

However, transport chiefs have threatened to close them if the work is not done.

The London Assembly transport committee published a report in November that detailed the ‘bleak’ outlook for London’s bridges and tunnels, which stressed the need for the government, both national and local, to work with TfL and London boroughs to oversee the maintenance of the vital river crossings.

However, TfL is facing a funding gap of around £1.2 billion and is in negotiations with the Department for Transport (DfT).

Transport committee chair Caroline Pidgeon has said that London’s river crossings ‘must stay open to keep our city moving’.

Responding to the potential closures, she said: “This is a serious concern going forward, which is why our report urges asset owners and the DfT to come together to ensure long term funding. Thames river crossings are crucial to the resilience of London’s road network and they must stay open to keep our city moving.”

During a meeting earlier in the year, TfL’s managing director for surface transport, Gareth Powell said that Rotherhithe Tunnel and Vauxhall Bridge had been identified as needing ‘interventions’ to secure their safe operation, totalling up to £170 million.

He explained that the systems within the Rotherhithe Tunnel needed an ‘urgent upgrade’, while Vauxhall Bridge required further waterproofing work.

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