Blackwall Tunnel

MQT on 2007-05-23
Session date: 
May 23, 2007
Question By: 
Bob Neill
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor



Answer for Blackwall Tunnel

Answer for Blackwall Tunnel

Answered By: 
The Mayor

TfL had discussions with the London Borough of Greenwich in December 2006 and with the Highways Agency in January in which concerns over the tidal flow were raised. The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has operated the peak period tidal flow at Blackwall since its introduction in 1978. The police advised Transport for London in September 2006 of its increasing concerns over risks being taken by drivers during the operation of tidal flow, and its view that there was a significant and increasing risk of a serious accident occurring. In light of this the MPS was considering withdrawal of its support in the operation of tidal flow.

Transport for London agreed with the police that tidal flow would continue while Transport for London's consultants reported on its operation, and those reports were evaluated and recommendations on whether it should continue were made. This evaluation concluded that tidal flow was hazardous and should be stopped. Transport for London therefore took the decision to withdraw tidal flow arrangements, and requested that the MPS continue its operation until 30 July this year to allow for communication with stakeholders, and installation of signage advising motorists of the cessation of tidal flow. The police took the view that there was no alternative but to curtail tidal flow operation without delay, and that they would do so on 20 April 2007.

In the interim, a near fatal motorcycle collision in the southbound tunnel during tidal flow operation on 17 April led the police to curtail operations immediately. This effectively was its last day of operation. This unfortunately meant that Transport for London was unable to communicate as planned the decision and the reasons behind it prior to the cessation of the tidal flow, although on 18 April TfL did distribute to stakeholders a press release advising that tidal flow would cease.