Transport for London (TfL) has received a development consent order (DCO) from the Department for Transport (DfT) to deliver the £1bn Silvertown Tunnel, a twin-bore road tunnel under the Thames in east London.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has signed the order.

Construction of the 1.4km tunnel is expected to begin in early 2019, with completion in 2023.

The tunnel will pass under the River Thames between Silvertown and north Greenwich, in London, connecting to the A1020 Silvertown Way/Lower Lea Crossing on the north side with A102 Blackwall Tunnel Approach on the south side.

The tunnel follows the alignment of the Emirates Airline cable car.

The Silvertown Tunnel is expected to ease congestion at Blackwall Tunnel, improve the reliability and resilience of the road network in east London, and improve cross-river public transport connections.

Work will be taken up on the areas surrounding the entrances to the tunnel to improve conditions for local residents and to create safe, attractive new walking and cycling routes around Royal Victoria and the Greenwich Peninsula.

The Silvertown Tunnel will be privately financed through a design, build, finance and maintain contract.

The successful delivery partner will receive payments from TfL once the tunnel is open for use.

Payments will be made in part through a user charge on both the new tunnel and the existing Blackwall Tunnel.

The level of charge for various types of vehicles using the tunnel will be decided prior to the opening date.

Two bidders, Cintra Global and Hochtief PPP Solutions, have been shortlisted to design and build the tunnel.

TfL intends to confirm a preferred bidder in 2018 and award the contract in early 2019 so that construction can begin in 2019.

TfL said that during construction, majority of construction material should be transported by river; all on-site construction machinery should at least meet the Mayor’s Non-Road Mobile Machinery Low Emission Zone Standards; and vehicles working on the scheme should be Euro VI and comply with the Mayor’s new Direct Vision Standard.

TfL will now work with local boroughs, landowners and stakeholders to outline the next steps for the project.

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