The Met confirmed that officers were called at 1:42pm to reports of the abandoned vehicle near the Tower Hamlets entrance.
Entrances were closed in both directions whilst vehicle was examined, with pedestrians also prevented from walking nearby.
Police say officers “stood down” shortly before 3:30pm but delays continued into the evening.
It was not until 7.54pm that Transport for London tweeted that traffic was “now flowing well in the Rotherhithe, Surrey Quays, Deptford and Greenwich”.
Numbers 1, 47, 188, 199, 225, 381, C10, and P12 were diverted because of the stagnant traffic.