where it is

River crossings have always been vital to London’s social and economic growth, but the lack of crossing points over the eastern Thames has been recognised as a significant barrier to movement and a limiting factor to growth in this part of the city for some time. Similar schemes have been difficult to deliver because of the technical difficulties and cost of building bridges where the Thames is wide and frequently transited by large ships.

This proposal’s clever positioning adjacent to the Thames Barrier, means more moderate opening spans are possible, which reduces the cost and makes the project eminently deliverable.

Map with the location of the bridge

how it works

Thames Barrier Bridge in the closed position
Thames Barrier Bridge in the open position

Yellow steel box girders support an aluminium mesh deck and with a clearance of 15 metres above high water spring tides, most boats will be able to pass underneath. However when larger boats do wish to pass through (about 10 times per day), the multiple piers, each with their own counterweights, create a series of opening spans. This provides certainty that at least one section of the river be unrestricted when it is needed.

why it works

Overlook of the Thames Barrier Bridge
Overlook of the Thames Barrier Bridge with a cruise ship approaching

The 530-metre bridge is a multi-span, double-leaf bascule bridge immediately downstream (or it can be immediately upstream) of the Thames Barrier, so impact on the flow of the river would be lessened.

It is a low-cost, low-impact pedestrian and cycle bridge that links the growing communities of New Charlton and Woolwich in Greenwich with the Royal Docks in Newham. It is elegant, clever and environmentally sound attracting visitors and tourists and bringing economic benefits to both north and south of the river.


Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands are a multi-talented team of 80 architects, design consultants and urban planners based in West London. Working along the Thames for 30 years they have helped to transform the South Bank with a series of projects that include the Oxo Tower Wharf, the Riverside Walkway and Broadwall Housing. They have created two bridges of their own – the Royal Victoria Dock Bridge and Golden Jubilee Footbridges – and they continue their work on the eastern Thames with major residential masterplans at Barking Riverside and Thamesmead. Currently they are collaborating with the artist Leo Villareal to bring the monumental artwork, Illuminated River, the lighting of up to 15 central London Bridges, to life.

Beckett Rankine - Marine Consulting Engineers

Beckett Rankine is the UK’s leading marine civil engineering consultancy. The practice plans and designs port projects worldwide but has particular expertise on the tidal Thames. Over the last 20 years the firm has been responsible for over 200 projects on the Thames including 16 passenger piers, a number of cargo jetties, several bridges and many miles of river frontage. Beckett Rankine’s current projects in east London include a new foot and cycle bridge over the river Lea, Royal Wharf passenger pier, Silvertown Quays development, King George V lock flood defence and over 5km of flood defence at Thamesmead. Beckett Rankine is also part of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ team delivering London’s Illuminated River project.

Eadon Consulting

Eadon Consulting is a niche engineering design and analysis practise working in several diverse sectors. One of its best known areas of expertise is the design of the operating equipment for moving structures including moving bridges. Eadon has been involved in many highly regarded and award winning moving bridge projects throughout the UK and internationally. Eadon works on all stages of a project from initial concept development through to onsite installation and commissioning supervision. Their aim is to deliver simple, reliable solutions that compliment and seamlessly integrate with the structure and maintain the architectural design intent.


Iceni Engagement provides stakeholder engagement, public consultation and communications services to support the creation of great places. The team is made up of political, planning, design and communications professionals able to engage with both expert and lay people. They have a track record of helping clients create value through effective and meaningful dialogue with local communities and other stakeholders. Iceni believe that planning has the potential to be as entrepreneurial, diverse, and interesting as any other element in the property industry, enhanced by its social dimension and ethos of inclusiveness and sustainability. Iceni is also part of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ team delivering London’s Illuminated River project.


Steer was formed in 1978 and has grown to become one of the world’s leading independent transportation consulting firms, employing over 450 people. Headquartered in London, Steer has offices elsewhere in the UK, mainland Europe, North America and Latin America. They are an employee-owned consulting firm and that independence guarantees impartiality and ensures efforts are closely focused on meeting clients’ needs. The team includes transport planners, modellers, engineers, economists, designers, operations experts, business strategy and finance analysts, researchers, specialists in marketing, communication & public relations, software developers and social scientists.

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