Greenwich tunnel closure means 10-mile detour for many

photo Some commuters face a 10-mile detour while the Greenwich tunnel is closed for maintenance

Angry cyclists and pedestrians are accusing the local council of leaving them stranded while the Greenwich tunnel closes for maintenance later this year.

Local LCC group, Greenwich Cyclists, has criticised the poor consultative process, and the lack of alternatives being provided. They have suggested using commuter boat the Thames Clipper or allowing bikes on the DLR to minimise disruption.

The tunnel will close in the autumn, for an as yet unknown length of time, while work takes place to replace the lifts, repair leaks and improve the lighting.

Poor consultation process and no alternatives
Greenwich cyclist Chris Le Breton said, “This critical link is being closed without a proper consultation or recognition of the important link it is between the South Bank and Canary Wharf.

“Cyclists wanting to cross the river in the absence of the foot tunnel are going to have to travel to Tower Bridge and then ride into Docklands, or use Woolwich foot tunnel.” The former involves a 10-mile detour.

A Greenwich Council spokesperson said, “Our aim is to keep disruption and inconvenience to a minimum and most of the work will take place while the tunnels remain open.”

Providing alternative routes requires political will
The mayor is said to be considering allowing bikes between Cutty Sark and Island Gardens DLR stations, but the council cite health and safety concerns around this, and say they are looking into funding for other daytime crossings options.

Mr Le Breton suggested cycle racks are installed on the 108 bus to carry bikes through the Blackwall Tunnel. He highlighted the success of such schemes in San Francisco and Rotterdam: “Our transport operators tend to come up with all sorts of reasons why alternatives can’t work, instead of looking at how they can work,” he said.