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Motorists get ready for more Blackwall Tunnel misery

PUBLISHED: 19:27 06 December 2007 | UPDATED: 11:07 13 July 2010

Traffic Commissioner Hendy by the A12 Blackwall Tunnel approach

Traffic Commissioner Hendy by the A12 Blackwall Tunnel approach

Carmen Valino 2007

MOTORISTS can expect another season of misery as more major roadworks get under way in the Blackwall Tunnel in the New Year. But London s traffic commissioner (pictured) promises a 'light at the end of the tunnel.'

By Michael Parker

michael.parker@archant.co.uk

MOTORISTS can expect another season of misery as more major roadworks get under way in the Blackwall Tunnel in the New Year.

But London's traffic commissioner has promised 'a light at the end of the tunnel' by restricting the work to night-time.

The twin tunnels are no longer coping with the increase in cross-river traffic using the A12, after scrapping a jam-busting contraflow system earlier this year.

So Transport for London boss Peter Hendy is planning modernisation and repairs to the 110-year-old northbound tunnel bore in the spring.

This includes new safety fittings and lighting and repairs to the road surface.

He revealed the details on Tuesday (Dec-4) when he visited Tower Hamlets council to thrash out traffic and transport issues with Town Hall leader Denise Jones.

Blackwall Tunnel has long been a source of contention for motorists, with tens of thousands packing the A12 every morning and evening.

But controversy erupted in April when TfL ended the tidal flow system that had been easing morning congestion for 29 years.

Rush-hour drivers heading north into Docklands and central London from Kent had been using one of the two southbound lanes since 1988, a year after the new southbound tunnel was opened.

Mr Hendy, speaking to the East London Advertiser, insisted his hands were tied by the Met Police who he says called for the change on 'safety' grounds.

But the Met denied they were responsible for scrapping the contraflow lane, insisting TfL held final authority for main arterial roads like the Blackwall Tunnel.

The repairs to the older northbound bore would take place at night, Mr Hendry assured, with the tunnel reopening in time for the morning rush-hour.

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