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Greenwich Council fears over Blackwall Tunnel breakdowns during Olympics

Thursday, April 5, 2012
6:03 PM

Local authority officials are worried about vehicles breaking down in the Blackwall Tunnel during the summer Olympics—despite measures by police and TfL to keep traffic on the move.

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Greenwich Council is concerned about the impact breakdowns would have and the backlog that would build up along the southern approach.

Its scrutiny committee was told of outstanding issues with TfL over Blackwall tunnel and the need for “robust contingency planning” being put in place to deal with any blockage.

A Greenwich council spokesperson said later: “We are still discussing our objections with the London 2012 committee and hope to be able to resolve our concerns.”

But measures are already in place with a traffic police team now specifically based at Poplar at the northern end of the tunnel to deal with emergencies, as revealed in the Advertiser in February.

The team has cut the time it takes to respond to breakdowns and accidents by more than half, reducing the average delay reopening the tunnel from 35 minutes down to 16.

More than 900 vehicles had also been stopped and checked before using the tunnel between November and February, with lorries too tall to get through being diverted to prevent accidents resulting in closures.

Tower Hamlets council is ready to monitor any congestion along the A12 approach road from Poplar to Bromley-by-Bow, part of the Olympics route network.

TfL, which is responsible for the A12, is confident its contingency plans are robust enough to keep the Blackwall Tunnel—one of London’s most notorious rush-hour bottlenecks—flowing smoothly.

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