TfL accused of ‘getting its sums wrong’ on £600m Rotherhithe Bridge

Josh Salisbury (04 March, 2020)

The bridge had been estimated to cost around £120m, before jumping to more than £600m two years later

35233A prototype of the bridge that was proposed

TfL has been accused of getting the figures wrong on the Rotherhithe Bridge by the chair of London Assembly’s transport committee.

A bridge spanning the river between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf was junked by TfL in June when cost estimates spiralled to higher than £600m.

Instead a ferry service has been proposed as TfL’s preferred cheaper option.

Originally the bridge had been estimated to cost around £120m, before jumping to more than £600m two years later – a more than fivefold increase.

Now chair of the transport committee, Navin Shah AM, has written to TfL to urge them to review its planning for big infrastructure projects, so that they are not derailed by unrealistic costings.

“How did TfL get its sums so wrong?” he asked. “This major infrastructure project is key to unlocking this part of east London in terms of active transport links, jobs and homes.

“A ferry service between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf is a much cheaper alternative, but we have questions over its cost, frequency, commencement of the service and whether it will be free to use.”

Mr Shah added that he would be grilling the transport body over the cost of the ferry to passengers, the types of ferry used and land purchases needed to make the ferry viable.

Announcing the decision to stop the bridge in June last year, deputy mayor Heidi Alexander said: “TfL has done everything possible to explore options for making this project viable.

“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.”


But the original £120M figure is the correct figure. Far more massive vertical lift bridges over a similar span including *road and rail* have been built in France and the US for less than £150M. The TfL figures are full of bloat and double counting. See for details.

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