In order to connect the road tunnel with 1.4km length in Newham on the north of the river to the Greenwich Peninsula, and decrease congestion at the existing Blackwall Tunnel, the construction process of the Silvertown Tunnel, London’s new Thames River crossing has been started.
Including abrdn, Invesis, Cintra, Macquarie Capital, and SK ecoplant, the Riverlinx consortium through a design, build, finance, operate, and maintain contract is delivering this project, while the private finance which has been raised specifically for the scheme, is providing the vast majority of the budget.
The 82m-long Jill TBM, which has been named in honor of Jill Viner, the first female bus driver in London, is excavating the two bores of the, whereas a small section around the tunnel entrances is due to be built using cut and cover method. As the largest ever used in the UK, the Herrenknecht TBM has a cutterhead diameter of 11.91m and is so large it was transported to the UK in pieces and assembled in the launch chamber. The TBM’s daily performance under the river will be about 10m and following the completion of the first tunnel from north to south, the TBM is slated to be turned to head back to Newham to complete the second tunnel.
In order to remove almost 600,000 tons of dug material from the site the barges will be used along the river. More than 150 barges have already been used to deliver or remove materials and waste from the site, removing at least 18,000 lorries from the road. The excavated materials from tunneling will be transported along the Thames to a former landfill site in Essex as part of a restoration scheme.
Additionally, for realigning the road network in Newham and Greenwich to link with the new tunnel, Riverlinx will soon start the working process alongside the tunneling.
Designs for improving the walking, cycling, and landscaping, which will be delivered around either side of the tunnel entrances, are the other activities of TfL and Riverlinx. These include dedicated cycleways and footways, as well as shared space and new public realm areas. Both tunnel portal buildings will have green roofs.
While the determined date for commencing the Silvertown Tunnel project was 2020, Covid lockdowns caused a delay in this project. Once completed in 2025, it is going to be the first new road crossing east of Tower Bridge since the Dartford Crossing was constructed over 30 years ago. In order to increase the number of buses crossing the river and therefore a greater provision of public transport, each tube will have a dedicated lane for buses, coaches, and heavy goods vehicles.