Silvertown Tunnel

Map of proposed Silvertown Tunnel

Benefits of the scheme

When it opens in 2025 the Silvertown Tunnel will help:

  • Reduce delays and queues at the Blackwall Tunnel, with journey times up to 20 minutes faster
  • Reduce the environmental impact of traffic congestion on some of London's most polluted roads
  • Provide more opportunities to cross the river by public transport with a network of zero-emission buses offering new routes and better access to more destinations

Our short film explains why the Silvertown Tunnel scheme is needed.

How we're doing it

RiverLinx consortium won the bid to design, build, finance and maintain the Silvertown Tunnel after a competitive procurement process. The consortium is made up of abrdn, Invesis, Cintra, Macquarie Capital and ecoplant.

The contract has been published as part of our commitment to transparency. See the Silvertown Tunnel project agreement.

Construction of the scheme follows the Silvertown Tunnel Code of Construction Practice (CoCP).

To reduce the carbon emissions generated by construction, Riverlinx is committed to ensuring that:

What we've done so far

  • In July 2023, 'Jill' the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) completed work on the second bore of the Silvertown Tunnel. It means that all main tunnelling work on the new river crossing was delivered in under a year
  • The spoil from the second tunnel was conveyed through the first bored tunnel to Newham, where over 780,000 tonnes were removed by barge
  • Significant progress continues on both sides of the river to develop the two tunnel portal buildings
  • Construction of the Portal Building and Service Buildings on the north side of the Thames has progressed, with waterproofing and post excavation works well developed
  • Construction of the Portal Building on the south side of the Thames in Greenwich is well underway. Excavation of the South Portal entrance is in progress
  • We've installed a new walking and cycling bridge across the A102. This bridge - with an improved lighting system and modern design standards - replaces the earlier 1960s footbridge
  • The new walking and cycling bridge opened for use in June 2023, ahead of the removal of the existing bridge. A temporary ramp to the new bridge across the A102 is available for cyclists and pedestrians, including those using mobility aids, until the new permanent ramp is installed 

We're also working on:

  • With the main tunnelling work completed, we're now excavating the eight cross-passages. These will run between the tunnels and help offer a safe route out of the tunnel
  • By the end of 2023, the main road surface within the tunnel will start to be installed. This will allow for testing and final fitout of the tunnel systems to begin
  • Work on the 'cut and cover' sections of the Silvertown tunnel, including portal entrances, is being delivered. As well as the new road layout into the Tidal Basin roundabout in Newham, and link roads into the A2 south of the Blackwall Tunnel
  • A temporary bridge has been installed on Millennium Way. This allows the excavation of the 'cut and cover' section to continue beneath it
  • The designs for the walking, cycling and landscaping improvements - these will be delivered around either side of the tunnel entrances
  • Developing proposals for a new cross-river cycling facility as part of the 2025 Silvertown Tunnel opening to help cyclists cross the Thames safely
  • Read more about southbound traffic closures through Blackwall Tunnel. Visit our traffic updates page for the latest on how roads are running

Silvertown Tunnel Implementation Group

The Silvertown Tunnel Implementation Group (STIG) was set up under the terms of the Development Consent Order (DCO) issued by the Department for Transport. It includes representatives from London's boroughs, the GLA and National Highways.

We're required to consult with STIG on matters around planning and operating the scheme. This includes air quality and traffic monitoring, the setting of user charges and proposals for the new bus services.

Papers from STIG meetings are on the Silvertown Tunnel Implementation Group page.

User charges

Once the Silvertown Tunnel opens, drivers must pay a user charge for using either the Blackwall or the Silvertown Tunnel. The exact charge levels for various types of vehicles using the new tunnel will be decided closer to the opening date.

This user charge will pay for building and maintaining the tunnel - but its main purpose is to help us manage traffic levels. (It's a legal requirement of the planning approvals to have this in place when the tunnel opens.) Any surplus revenue will be reinvested in London's transport network.

We will only start paying the Riverlinx consortium once the tunnel is open and available for use. We will also be able to reduce payments if the tunnel doesn't meet certain standards, such as being available for traffic.

Air quality

Without the Silvertown Tunnel, congestion and air quality around the Blackwall Tunnel are predicted to get worse as London's population grows.

User charges for the new tunnel, as well as the new cross-river bus network, will help us manage the environmental impact of traffic. We're committed to ensuring the scheme delivers an overall improvement on air quality.

Air quality in London has improved since we were granted permission to build the Silvertown Tunnel following the progress of the Mayor's Transport Strategy. This includes the London-wide expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

It's important we test any improvement in air quality against pollution levels at the time of opening rather than from our previous work in 2016. For this reason, we've updated our initial forecasts. These will guide user-charging decisions and help us to identify if any local changes are needed.

Since December 2020, we've been monitoring air quality and specifically nitrogen dioxide (NO2) to ensure that the impacts of the Silvertown Tunnel are fully understood, and we get the overall air quality improvement expected.

As part of our monitoring network, we have 38 diffusion tubes and 3 continuous monitoring stations recording nitrogen dioxide (NO2) across 5 boroughs: Greenwich, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Southwark and Lewisham. The 3 continuous monitors sample the air around the unit in 15-minute intervals and the data is reported live on the London Air Quality Network website. Other monitors are diffusion tubes installed on lamp posts on key roads and provide us with monthly averages of NO2 levels.

We've completed baseline data for 2020-21 and 2021-22 and the full reports are available on the Silvertown Tunnel Implementation Group page. The 2021-22 report also includes air quality data from selected local authorities, to give us an understanding of actual air quality levels on roads around the scheme before it opens.

We'll continue to monitor air quality (NO2) before and after the opening of the tunnel and will publish our annual reports online.

Supporting local residents and businesses

We're legally committed to a wide range of improvements and measures to reduce the impact of the new tunnel and support the wider local area.

These include:

  • £1m worth of support for local businesses to help them adapt to the user charge when the Silvertown Tunnel is operational
  • Extensive monitoring, particularly around air quality, done both before and after the opening of the tunnel. Regular reports will be published online and if readings suggest impacts are worse than originally anticipated, we will review what else we can do to address them
  • A user-charging discount to specifically help low-income residents in the host boroughs of Greenwich, Newham and Tower Hamlets
  • £2m in bus concessions for local residents to help promote the new cross-river bus services which will run through the tunnel, as well as supporting them to move away from private car use wherever possible. We will also enhance river crossing facilities for cyclists and pedestrians across the local area


  • 2025: Planned opening of the new tunnel
  • 2024: Registration opens for user-charging accounts (for both Silvertown and Blackwall tunnels)
  • 2023: Cross-river bus network proposals announced, and opening user charges developed
  • Spring 2023: Tunnelling of second bore begins northwards
  • Winter 2022/23: TBM completes first bore and is turned 180 degrees
  • September 2022: Tunnelling begins southbound towards Greenwich
  • Spring 2022: TBM is assembled
  • 2020: Main construction activity starts
  • 2019: Preferred contractor announced and contract awarded
  • February-October 2018: Ground and river survey work
  • May 2018: DCO gives the go ahead by the DfT
  • 2016-2017: Hearing and examination process
  • April 2016: We apply to the Secretary of State for Transport for the DCO

Contact us

Any questions about the project?


Construction issues:


Riverlinx 24/7 Helpdesk: 07907 978 486