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Blackwall Tunnel safety upgrade continues

Phenomenal progress means only three more weekend closures of Blackwall Tunnel required as safety upgrade continues

· Project now due to be completed by December 2011 – one year ahead of schedule

· Southbound closures will take place across Easter Bank Holiday weekend and the weekends of 10-13 June and 12-15 August

· Rotherhithe Tunnel will once again be dedicated to southbound traffic during closures

Transport for London (TfL) will only need to carry out three more weekend closures of the northbound Blackwall Tunnel to complete the ongoing safety upgrade of the 113 year old Tunnel.

These closures will allow its contractor, BAM Nuttall, to continue vital upgrade works as well as resurfacing the entire 1.4 km tunnel, neither of which can be carried out during the weeknight closure programme.

Following discussions with key stakeholders including surrounding boroughs, user groups and key local businesses, these weekend closures have been timed to avoid major events in the area. The closures will take place at the following times:

· 21.00 Thursday 21 April – 05.00 Tuesday 26 April

· 21.00 Friday 10 June – 05.00 Monday 13 June

· 21.00 Friday 12 August – 05.00 Monday 15 August

During the weekend closures, the Rotherhithe Tunnel will again operate two lanes in the southbound direction only, while the Blackwall Tunnel will carry only northbound traffic. Drivers will also be able to use alternative river crossings such as Tower Bridge, the Woolwich Ferry or the Dartford Crossing to complete their journey.

Since work began in February 2010, new ventilation fans have been installed in the tunnel’s four shafts as well as new lighting, upgraded CCTV and new communications systems installed throughout the tunnel. TfL has also begun installing 26 inlets in the tunnel wall (including emergency phones and fire extinguisher) providing a safe area for any drivers whose vehicles have broken down within the tunnel.

By working with the contractor and using innovative thinking to allow sections of the works to be carried out during the day, TfL and BAM Nuttall has managed to bring the project forward to complete in December 2011; one year earlier than originally expected.

Garrett Emmerson, Chief Operating Officer for London Streets, TfL, said:

"TfL remains committed to do everything we can to minimise disruption to drivers in east London whilst these vital improvement works are being carried out.

"Although these works are progressing even better than we had hoped, there will be additional congestion due to these weekend closures. We therefore ask people to plan their journeys for these weekends in advance and avoid travelling through the area if at all possible."

For more information, visit www.tfl.gov.uk/blackwalltunnelrefurbishment.

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