A new police team funded by TfL will be based near the east London tunnel for three months in an effort to reduce the number of unplanned closures.
As one of the few major river crossings in the east of the city, the Blackwall Tunnel has always been fraught with congestion and closures – many of which are avoidable according to TfL’s statement released yesterday – out of 1200 closures in the last year, over 1100 were due to drivers ignoring height restriction signs (an endorsable offence though that doesn't appear to have stopped many of them) and around 280 were caused by breakdowns with a third of these being caused by cars running out of fuel.
TfL are also urging drivers to ensure their cars are well maintained and have enough fuel to complete a journey which surely should be a basic tenet of car ownership though the statistics appear to suggest otherwise. It’s a horrid tunnel to drive through, especially northbound with its alarmingly narrow lanes and bends but TfL’s figures appear to highlight ignorance and lack of common sense rather than dangerous driving with only 46 of the 1200 closures being down to collisions.
The rather staggering number of Blackwall Tunnel closures and the resulting congestion in the area highlights once again the need for another river crossing in the east – something which has been on Boris Johnson’s agenda for quite a while and at a Thames Gateway London Partnership forum last November, he once again spoke of his commitment to introducing ‘a series of river crossings in the next few years, east of London Bridge.’