Drivers urged to avoid east London this weekend as Blackwall Tunnel closes

Work on ventilation shafts ahead of proposed completion of tunnel refurbishment in the summer of 2012

DRIVERS will have to face their final Blackwall Tunnel weekend closure of 2010 when the barriers come down this Friday night.

The southbound tunnel will be shut from 9pm on Friday until 5am next Monday as the ongoing refurbishment of the river crossing continues.

During the closure, the Rotherhithe Tunnel will again operate two lanes in the southbound direction only, while the Blackwall Tunnel will carry only northbound traffic.

Engineers will work on new ventilation shafts during the latest of a handful of weekend closures of the tunnel this year.

Garrett Emmerson, Chief Operating Officer for London Streets, TfL, said: “We are making excellent progress on the refurbishment of the 113-year-old tunnel.

“As a result, we were able to cancel the proposed weekend closure in September. However, despite this progress, this weekend’s closure is required to carry out further works to the ventilation shafts directly above the tunnel’s road that can not be carried out during the normal overnight closures.

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“We apologise for the delays and inconvenience that this closure will inevitably cause. Our contractor, BAM Nuttall, will be working 24 hours a day over the weekend to minimise this disruption. However, I would urge drivers to avoid the area if they can.”

Drivers who would usually use the Rotherhithe or Blackwall Tunnel will also be able to use alternative river crossings such as Tower Bridge, the Woolwich Ferry or the Dartford Crossing to complete their journey.

The Woolwich Ferry will run additional services between 6.10am to 10pm on Saturday and 9am to 9.30pm on Sunday to help reduce congestion.