The southbound Blackwall Tunnel, an essential thoroughfare connecting the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Greenwich, is slated for an extensive refurbishment by Tarmac Kier JV in 2024. This significant upgrade aims to renew vital systems that ensure smooth tunnel operations. The overhaul, as revealed in a Freedom of Information request submitted by NCE, encompasses replacing lighting with LED systems, installing modern CCTV systems, and replacing variable message signage (VMS) with contemporary, streamlined designs. Additional works include undertaking carriageway works like concrete repairs, waterproofing the road deck, and replacing missing tunnel cladding panels.
The cost of London’s Blackwall Tunnel Refurbishment
The refurbishment is backed by a budget of £3.66M, allocated by Transport for London (TfL) for the 2023-24 period. £700,000 is already invested in procurement. Thus, the design and build contract was awarded to Tarmac Kier JV. This was after a mini-competition via the Surface Transport Infrastructure Construction (STIC) framework.
When does London’s Blackwall Tunnel Refurbishment begin?
Works are expected to commence in May 2024. However, the exact timeline for project completion still needs to be confirmed. Thus, planning for the upgrade involved detailed modelling assessments by TfL to ascertain the most effective implementation method. The identified approach entails a series of weekend and night closures designed to minimise disruption. TfL indicates that the project is currently on target to move forward to the design and build stage. This is subject to budget reviews and value-for-money considerations.
In parallel, TfL is driving towards improving accessibility in both the Silvertown and Blackwall tunnels. So, plans for a bicycle shuttle bus are currently open to public feedback. This comes against the backdrop of notorious traffic congestion in recent years in the Blackwall Tunnel, a key factor influencing the construction of the nearby Silvertown Tunnel, set to open in 2025.