London mayor Sadiq Khan has shelved plans for a walking and cycling bridge between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe as the projected cost of the scheme threatened to hit £600m.
The decision has provoked anger from some quarters as it follows Mr Khan’s decision to go ahead with the controversial £1bn Silvertown tunnel under the Thames in East London.
Mr Khan also withdrew support for the Garden Bridge, which was championed by his predecessor, Boris Johnson.
In a letter to Florence Eshalomi, chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander stated that the Transport for London (TfL) Board Programmes and Investment Committee had agreed that TfL should ‘pause development work’ on the scheme.
She wrote: ‘Despite considerable effort to minimise the costs of a bridge at this location, the sheer scale and complexity of the engineering solution that would be required means it is currently unaffordable. The current midpoint cost estimate for the scheme is £463m, within a range that means final costs could be over £600m. This compares to a £350m allocation in the current TfL Business Plan.
'The bridge is therefore unaffordable in the short to medium term, particularly in the context of TfL’s wider financial challenges.'
Matt Winfield, London director at Sustrans, said the charity was ‘hugely disappointed’ by the decision.
He said: ‘With so much development planned for east London, it is essential that new walking and cycle crossings over the Thames are built so that it is easier for people to reach jobs and services using sustainable, clean modes of transportation.
‘London needs significant change to address the problems of air quality, fairness, congestion and health - the cancellation of this bridge takes exactly the opposite approach.’
A spokesperson for Mr Khan described the move as ‘the sensible and responsible thing to do to protect the London taxpayer’
The spokesperson said: ‘TfL have used all of their expertise to try and lower the costs of a viable new bridge at this site, but it would now cost substantially more than the money allocated in the Business Plan.
‘TfL are now exploring options for a new fast ferry at the site that can be used by cyclists and pedestrians, and we continue to use the record amounts being invested in Healthy Streets to make walking and cycling easier and safer across the capital.’