The Blackwall Tunnel is closing for five weekends in January and February

January’s tube strikes might’ve been called off at the very last minute, but that’s by no means the end of travel disruption in London for the coming weeks. The next huge shake-up to getting around the capital will be the partial closure of the Blackwall tunnel, one of London’s busiest river crossings. 

TfL has confirmed the planned closure of the southbound Blackwall tunnel for five weekends, which is due to maintenance work on the northbound route. It’ll still be open northbound, though that traffic will be routed through the tunnel usually used for southbound traffic. Slightly confusing, we know.

The northbound tunnel, which is the older of the two (it opened way back in 1897), is getting some much-needed work done on its drainage. It’s also getting some over-height vehicle gantries installed – and some of the works are linked to the new Silvertown tunnel, which is due to open next year

So, which dates do regular Blackwall tunnel users need to watch out for? Well, that’d be: January 13-15, 20-22 and 27-29, as well as February 10-12 and 24-26. The tunnel will be shut southbound between 12.01am on Saturday morning and 5am (at the latest) on the following Monday morning. 

Alternative nearby route options include the M24 Dartford Crossing, Tower Bridge and the Rotherhithe tunnel (which could close itself later this year), though drivers of HGVs as well as vans of higher than two metres tall are encouraged to avoid central London during these periods and beware of size restrictions. 

The 108 bus route, the only one which operates through the tunnel, will be temporarily split in two when the tunnel is partially closed, operating between Lewisham and North Greenwich and between Canning Town and Stratford. Passengers will have to instead use the Jubilee line to get across the river, though will be automatically refunded for this part of the journey. 

What’s more, there won’t be any access to Tunnel Avenue from the A102 at Pear Island, and the northbound on-slip on Blackwall Lane will also be closed. But on the last scheduled weekend in Feb, northbound traffic will also be diverted from the A102 via Millenium Way to the Blackwall tunnel entrance, from 10pm until 8am. That’s to allow additional works for gantries across all A102 lanes. 

So, quite a big reshuffle for traffic around the Blackwall tunnel! You can check for regular traffic updates in the area on the TfL website here.

This isn’t the only time that the Blackwall tunnel has been in Time Out news in recent months. Back in August it was announced that the tunnel will begin charging a toll fee in 2025, which is when the Silvertown tunnel is also set to open. Because the Silvertown will also charge a fee, the Blackwall toll is apparently intended to encourage drivers to use both crossings.  

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Plus: London train and tube strikes January 2024 – everything you need to know

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