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Survey shows why drivers get ‘Blackwall Tunnel’ vision motoring under the Thames

PUBLISHED: 18:00 04 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:45 25 October 2018

Granddaddy of them all... the Blackwall Tunnel opened in 1897 by the Prince of Wales. Picture source: Google

Granddaddy of them all... the Blackwall Tunnel opened in 1897 by the Prince of Wales. Picture source: Google

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The busy Blackwall, Rotherhithe and Limehouse Link road tunnels have found their way onto a list of Britain’s longest subterranean highways in a survey by the motor trade.

Limehouse Link... fourth longest road tunnel in Britain, the most expensive to build. Picture source: GoogleLimehouse Link... fourth longest road tunnel in Britain, the most expensive to build. Picture source: Google

The A1203 ‘Link’ running more than a mile from Shadwell under the Limehouse marina to Canary Wharf, is the fourth longest on the list and was the most expensive to build anywhere in the country.

It opened in 1993 at a cost of £250,000 for every yard or metre, according to research by LeaseVan hire company.

But the A12 Blackwall Tunnel is the ‘granddaddy’ of them all, the ninth-longest and certainly the oldest, opened by the Prince of Wales in 1897 to carry horse-drawn and pedestrian traffic. It runs more than a mile, 54,000ft, or 1,350m, from Poplar under the Thames to the Greenwich Peninsular on the other side.

Even longer is the A101 Rotherhithe tunnel linking the A13 Commercial Road to the old Surrey Commercial Docks south of the river, 75ft below the Thames and stretching 400ft longer than the Blackwall Tunnel and the sixth longest in Britain. It was opened in 1908, but 3,000 families were displaced to build the approach roads.

Entrance to the Rotherhithe Tunnel, heading north under the ThamesEntrance to the Rotherhithe Tunnel, heading north under the Thames

East London has more entries on the ‘long tunnels’ list than any other part of Britain, the LeaseVan survey shows, but not the longest. That title goes to the Kingsway Tunnel in Liverpool opened in 1934 at more than two miles long.

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