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Rotherhithe Tunnel to close over weekend for ‘essential ventilation work’

The Rotherhithe tunnel will be closed from 10pm tonight for “essential ventilation work,” Transport for London has announced.

When the tunnel re-opens on Monday at 5am, new restrictions will be in place for goods vehicles – with those over two metres high or heavier than two tonnes not allowed into the tunnel.

Goods vehicles will instead be encouraged to use Tower Bridge.

Glynn Barton, TfL’s Director of Network Management, said: “Safety is our top priority and this closure and changes to the vehicles allowed in the tunnel are absolutely necessary to ensure the tunnel’s future.

“This assessment can only be carried out when the tunnel is fully closed to all traffic, and while the work takes place we strongly advise drivers to avoid the area around the tunnel and to allow more time for their journeys.”

TFL said it has carried out an analysis of the tunnel’s ventilation system – which was built in 1908 – but needed to close off the tunnel to carry out a more detailed assessment.

Previous assessments identified the need for ventilation improvements, which TFL attributed to modern levels of traffic.

The work over the weekend will allow engineers to set out plans for repairs if any are needed.

Planned closures to the Blackwall Tunnel for Saturday evening have now been cancelled to ease congestion on the roads.

Transport for London were slammed by Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP, Neil Coyle, earlier this month for not properly monitoring the pollution levels in the tunnel.

He told the News: “The systems they had in place until early 2016 weren’t monitoring the pollution levels properly so drivers, pedestrians and cyclists going in and out of the tunnel weren’t aware that TFL could be putting them all at risk.”

The tunnel’s two vents are located near to people’s homes, and local residents spotted them opening more often to let out pollution.

However TfL vowed that it will carry out changes to the tunnel’s ventilation to improve air quality for nearby residents.


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