Tideway’s commitment to use the Thames as the main means of transportation for the construction of the ‘Super Sewer’ is a good thing.
Local people were of course against Chambers Wharf being used as the base for the eastern section of the Thames Tideway Tunnel. The roads surrounding Chambers Wharf, most notably Tooley Street and Jamaica Road, are a living nightmare for commuters and motorists. The daily grid of tailbacks along these main roads is now commonplace and Jamaica Road has been cited as the slowest road in London. To add 4,000 workers with lorries working around the clock to clear debris from the tunnelling would surely bring the area to a halt.
Many local residents will be dreading 2018, when the work actual begins, but the fact that the Thames is being used over roads will bring some consolation. London is in need of the Super Sewer as we still rely mainly on a Victorian system for our untreated sewage. If, as a by-product of the £4.2 billion project, Tideway can help, in its own words “revitalise the river economy” then this will be a much needed and called for result. Since the closure of the docks in the 1970s, the Thames has been underused in an increasingly congested city.
The tunnelling will be taking place and there will be disruption for local resident, motorists and commuters, but as we work towards the construction date, it is vitally important that Tideaway works with local people to inform them and create new opportunities that will benefit them in the long run, as they take the hit for the rest of London.