Photos have been released from inside the Silvertown Tunnel to mark the completion of the main tunnelling work on the £2 billion road project.
The two bores of the tunnel, between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, were finished last month when the tunnelling machine finished its journey back to the north side of the Thames.
News only emerged of the completion of the drilling work when Sian Berry, a Green Party London Assembly member, shared photos of the machine she had taken from the London Cable Car earlier this month.
Now Riverlinx, the company that is building and will operate the tunnel, has published photos of the interior of the tunnel, showing concrete linings and a base for the new road surface in place. Riverlinx says that it plans to start putting the road surface down by the end of the year.
The tunnel will have dedicated lanes for HGVs and buses when it opens in two years’ time. Sadiq Khan, who backed the project shortly after becoming mayor, has said it is needed to deal with persistent congestion around the Blackwall Tunnel. Opponents of the project say it will fail to do that and will make congestion worse in neighbouring roads.
Khan has said the tunnel – which will be tolled along with the Blackwall Tunnel – will be “public transport focused”, but only two services are due to use the crossing when it opens. Walking and cycling will be banned, but a consultation on a shuttle bus for cyclists is running through the summer.
Riverlinx is now excavating eight cross-passages between the two bores and is continuing work on the two tunnel portals, at Tidal Basin Roundabout on the north side and next to the Blackwall Tunnel on the south side.
Helen Wright, the head of the Silvertown Tunnel programme for TfL, said: “The completion of tunnelling works on the Silvertown Tunnel is a massive milestone, and to complete it in under a year shows the hard work and close collaboration of everyone working on the project.
“Engineers are working around the clock to deliver this project with minimal impact to those living, working and visiting the local area and we remain committed to delivering a project that supports growth in the local area and provide new public transport connections across the river.”