A new cycling and walking bridge over the River Thames, that will halve cycle journey times between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe and provide an urgently needed extra crossing for London's growing population, has come a step closer to becoming a reality.
Transport for London has granted £170,000 for Sustrans to carry out an advanced feasibility study on the bridge, which was mooted late last year, with a further £30,000 matched by businesses in the area. Subject to the results of this study, a strong business case and funding, the bridge could open by 2020.
The bridge would span 400m, with an opening section in the middle allowing ships to pass, and would be open 24 hours a day to help relieve pressure on public transport links, including the Jubilee Line, as London's population is set to hit 10 million by 2030.
Sustrans delivers cycling and walking infrastructure around the country, including London's new quietways. Its Chief Executive, Malcolm Shepherd, said: "Sustrans is delighted to have received this funding from TfL and other partners to be able to move forward with the feasibility work on this crossing. It could enable millions of sustainable cross-river journeys and make it far easier for people to choose a healthier travel option.
"With high-quality links to destinations either side, it will make walking and cycling a real choice for hundreds of thousands of residents, workers and visitors".
Currently the only crossing for cyclists across this section of river is via the Rotherhithe tunnel, an unpleasant prospect at best, with traffic fumes and lanes too narrow for cars to overtake, a particular problem where the tunnel climbs out of the river. Although part of NCN1, cyclists have to dismount and walk through the nearby Greenwich foot tunnel.
Richard de Cani, TfL’s Managing Director for Planning said: "As London’s population grows towards 10 million people, we need a number of new river crossings to improve connectivity and reduce congestion on existing road and rail services.
"A new pedestrian and cycle crossing between the Isle of Dogs and Rotherhithe and Canada Water would encourage more people to walk and cycle to Canary Wharf, improving access to amenities and jobs and providing an alternative to the Jubilee line for shorter trips. TfL is working with Sustrans and the private sector on developing this proposal by pledging funding towards the first phase of feasibility work."
Isabel Dedring, Deputy Mayor for Transport said: "More than a third of London's expected population growth is expected to happen in East London and we urgently need more crossings - for all types of transport users. So we are delighted to be able to offer this funding to help progress Sustrans' proposed cycling and walking bridge."
Designs for the bridge will differ from earlier artists' impressions but what the bridge will actually look like hasn't been finalised yet. A new foot and cycle bridge is also being built further west, near the Nine Elms development in Vauxhall.