Rotherhithe Tunnel closes for weekend in preparation for new vehicle access restrictions

The Rotherhithe Tunnel will be closed from 22:00 tonight until 05:00 on Monday morning, so that Transport for London (TfL) can carry out essential investigative work on the tunnel’s ventilation system. From Monday morning, when the tunnel reopens, new restrictions will be in place for goods vehicles. TfL has carried out a detailed analysis of the century old tunnel’s ventilation system. The tunnel was built in 1908 and was never designed to cope with modern levels of traffic. A recent inspection of the ventilation system has identified the need to carry out improvements. The tunnel will be closed this weekend to allow engineers to conduct a more detailed assessment of the ventilation system. They will be working around the clock during the closure to complete the assessment, which will allow TfL to set out plans for any future repairs that may need to take place. A planned closure Blackwall Tunnel for Saturday evening has been cancelled to help relieve traffic and give drivers an alternative option. Additional vehicle restrictions in the tunnel will be needed once it reopens to traffic on Monday. The maximum permitted vehicle height will now be set at 2m (with a maximum weight of 2 tonnes for goods vehicles) - smaller than the previous maximum vehicle size. 

Taxis will be exempt from the weight restriction and can carry on using the tunnel. 

Goods vehicles are advised to use Tower Bridge, as these vehicles will not be allowed to use the Rotherhithe Tunnel. Glynn Barton, TfL’s Director of Network Management, said: “Safety is our top priority and this closure and changes to the vehicles allowed in the tunnel are absolutely necessary to ensure the tunnel’s future. This assessment can only be carried out when the tunnel is fully closed to all traffic, and while the work takes place we strongly advise drivers to avoid the area around the tunnel and to allow more time for their journeys.” 

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