First look at the planned Silvertown Bridge for Royal Docks
New curved bridge will link Silvertown Quays development with Elizabeth line at Custom House
While the proposed cycle bridge between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf has been stealing the headlines in recent days, another striking Docklands bridge is ready to go.
The Silvertown Bridge aims to replace the striking suspension bridge that crosses the Royal Victoria Dock. There’s two reasons for that – firstly the Silvertown Quays development will put immense pressure on a link that was mostly designed for occasional foot traffic.
And, more crucially, it will provide Silvertown Quays, Britannia Village and the whole slew of riverside development with access to the new Custom House Crossrail service, the epicentre of the Royal Docks latest revival.
The refurbished Millennium Mills will be the focal point of the south-side development, turning old flour mills into a high-tech hub. And the new ground-level bridge will meander from there to the Excel and the dual DLR-Elizabeth line station.
The architect is Stanton Williams – which created the visuals – under commission from the Silvertown Partnership which now can offer tenants and residents a “three-minute walk from Crossrail”, which is money in the bank.
As the Royal Docks still see their fair-share of boat traffic, the austere concrete walkway, designed by structural engineering firm AKT-II, will have a floating, rotating opening section.
“Innovative methods are being explored to ensure that the structure is strong and rigid when closed, but that it can move freely when opening, without affecting the structure of the bridge,” says AKT.
Some 3,000 new homes will feature as part of the £3.5billion masterplan with residents moving into the site in 2020. In the meantime, a “container city” for temporary workspace signals the intent of a scheme to transform another part of brownfield land while, across the water, building shapes are beginning to emerge on the Asian business park.
Restoration of the iconic Mills, for so long merely acting as dystopian backdrops for hard-edged films, will be completed by 2019, the same time as the planned curved bridge.
The more controversial Silvertown link – the companion tunnel to Blackwall taking traffic from North Greenwich to the Docklands – is currently under further scrutiny after continued criticism that it will affect air quality in East London.
The decision on whether to proceed with the £1bn tunnel under the Thames has been delayed by another six months.
Transport minister Paul Maynard said in a written statement that the deadline for the decision on the tunnel was to be pushed back to May 10, 2018, to enable “further consideration of the effect of the scheme on air quality”.