The Silvertown Tunnel will be a new 1.4km twin-lane road tunnel under the River Thames, linking North Greenwich and Silvertown.
Construction work has now begun and sites are well established on both sides of the river in preparation for the arrival of the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) early in 2022. When completed in 2025, the Silvertown Tunnel will be the first new road crossing east of Tower Bridge since the Dartford Crossing was built over 30 years ago.
The tunnel will have a dedicated lane for buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles, meaning there will be a significant increase in the number of buses crossing the river and much greater opportunity to use public transport. Buildings above the tunnel entrances, and plans to improve walking, cycling and the urban environment, are also part of the major regeneration of both sides of the river.
For too long, the Blackwall Tunnel has been plagued by chronic congestion and daily incidents and the cross-river network in east London has not been able to cope. After exploring numerous options for a much-needed new crossing, plans were developed and the Silvertown Tunnel scheme was put forward as a solution.
In 2012, the Silvertown Tunnel was designated a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NISP) and further to consultation, a Development Planning Consent (DCO) was awarded by the Secretary of State for Transport in 2018.
The Silvertown Tunnel will transform the situation at Blackwall by effectively eliminating congestion, improving reliability and offering an alternative during frequent closures.
TfL awarded Riverlinx SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) the contract for financing and overseeing the design, build and maintenance of the Silvertown Tunnel in 2019. The Riverlinx CJV (Construction Joint Venture) is contracted by TfL and Riverlinx SPV to complete the design and construction works, delivering the Silvertown Tunnel on time and on budget.Riverlinx CJV is a joint venture, a partnership bringing together international, market leading expertise from three civil engineering and construction companies: BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Construction and SK Ecoplant. In collaboration with TfL, our supply chain and other key stakeholders in the project, Riverlinx CJV will complete construction of the Silvertown Tunnel in Spring 2025.
How is the scheme funded?
TfL is not paying the upfront construction costs. Instead, Riverlinx SPV will deliver the Silvertown Tunnel with private finance and will be repaid after construction is complete, over a period of 25- years. During this time, Riverlinx is responsible for maintaining the new tunnel, operating its systems and responding to incidents. Riverlinx payments are linked to performance during this period, not traffic levels. Riverlinx has no role in managing traffic or the user charging for the scheme. TfL expects the revenue from user charging will cover the costs of repayments to Riverlinx, and potentially generate a surplus that would be reinvested in London’s transport network.
Managing a complex scheme
Riverlinx started construction of TfL’s Silvertown Tunnel in 2020. Each partner brings expertise and experience throughout the lifecycle of the project – including finance; design, construction, operations, and maintenance of major complex infrastructure works, from some of the most complex tunnelling projects around the globe. We use digital construction to support collaboration and use sustainable construction materials and methods. Riverlinx shares and learns from best practice across the engineering and construction industry, leading and applying innovations, modernising the way we work, to improve safety and achieve a predictable performance.