We are making excellent progress on the refurbishment of the 113-year-old tunnel
The Blackwall Tunnel will be closed to southbound traffic this weekend as part of the ongoing refurbishment of the 113-year-old river crossing.
This will allow Transport for London's (TfL's) contractor, BAM Nuttall, to carry out vital improvement works to the tunnel's ventilation system that can't be carried out during the weeknight closure programme.
During the weekend closure, the Rotherhithe Tunnel will again operate two lanes in the southbound direction only, while the Blackwall Tunnel will carry only northbound traffic.
This measure was used during the last weekend closure in July, and resulted in considerably less congestion overall. 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 06:10 to 22:00 on Saturday and 09:00 to 21:30 on Sunday to help reduce congestion and provide an alternative river crossing during the closures.
Since the refurbishment began in February, TfL and its contractor, BAM Nuttall, have made excellent progress. As a result, the works are now likely to be completed six months ahead of schedule (in the summer of 2012) and require two less weekend closures.
Work completed so far includes the installation of new ventilation fans in two of the tunnel's four shafts and the installation of temporary lighting, CCTV and communications systems throughout the tunnel, which will allow the old systems to be removed. Work to install the permanent systems, which will bring the tunnel up to current standards, has also begun.
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.
'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.'
For more information, visit www.tfl.gov.uk/blackwalltunnelrefurbishment.
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