Sunday 20 October 2013

Revised footbridge designs for Greenwich Reach/Deptford Creek

New designs for the proposed swing bridge over the mouth of Deptford Creek have been submitted to Greenwich planners, and the design documents are on the planning website. Don't be fooled by the visualisations, however, they are the same as the ones that were posted with the (first revision)  application earlier this year

The pictures I've posted here are taken from the new detailed design planning statement. Galliard Homes - the developer of the New Capital Quay which has to provide the swing bridge as part of its section 106 commitment (although as I explained in my last post, got agreement for some extra floors on top of its existing buildings to 'pay' for the bridge) has now commissioned some proper bridge designers - Flint & Neill - to examine the proposal and ensure it is workable. Despite the fact that it's a small structure, a certain level of experience is required to properly design a cable-stayed swing span bridge. 

The revised design is a lot less flashy but according to those in the know, looks like it might actually work from a structural point of view. The mast height has been lowered, the arrangement of the counterweight has been changed and various details of the design have been adjusted to reduce the amount of future maintenance required. Reading the planning details, it sounds like the initial proposal was, shall we say, unworkable?

One glaring omission from the documents so far is any firm commitment on operation - an issue which is particularly thorny for the Creek's boat dwellers and those who use it for goods deliveries such as Priors.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Campaigners against Silvertown Tunnel reveal shocking air pollution in Greenwich and Deptford

Local campaigners against the Silvertown Tunnel have revealed shocking levels of air pollution in south east London which at some places breach European limits for nitrogen dioxide.

The figures were revealed at a public meeting by a group in Greenwich which is campaigning against plans to build a new road tunnel under the Thames between the Greenwich peninsula and the Royal Docks.

The No To Silvertown Tunnel campaign carried out its own research into air pollution during the summer, attaching tubes to lamp posts to measure the nitrogen dioxide in the air around the A102 Blackwall Tunnel Southern Approach, and the A2 Rochester Way Relief Road.

They found pollution levels broke European limits at several points along the route, and argue that a Silvertown Tunnel would funnel more traffic into the two link roads, causing more congestion and pollution in Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath, Kidbrooke and Eltham.

As part of their research they discovered that Greenwich Council, which also monitors air quality, had stopped publishing its findings some years ago. They put in a freedom of information request for the details, which as well as backing up the campaigners claims about air quality, reveal that pollution at the end of Deptford Church Street on Creek Road has been breaching European limits for nitrogen dioxide for more than eight years. At times the measured level at this site has reached twice the recommended level of 40µg/m3. The average level that has been measured over the past eight years is one and half times the recommended level (click on the image to see it full size).

Both London mayor Boris Johnson and Greenwich Council support the building of the Silvertown Tunnel, despite the damage it will do to the local area. Other local councils, including Lewisham, Southwark, Hackney and Redbridge are either opposed or have serious reservations.

Transport consultant John Elliott, the Campaign for Better Transport’s Sian Berry, King’s College London air quality expert Dr Ian Mudway and Clean Air London’s Simon Birkett discussed the issue at a public meeting this evening in Greenwich. Campaigners want a full and open debate about the issue, and are unhappy with Greenwich Council's continued support for the scheme.

“The Silvertown Tunnel will blight lives on both sides of the river Thames, but in Greenwich few people seem aware of the consequences of building a new road tunnel, or that there are even plans to build one,” says No to Silvertown Tunnel campaigner Chris Taylor, who took part in the community-based study.

“The A2 and A102 are London’s biggest rat-run – we get no benefit, only pollution and congestion from traffic using the Blackwall Tunnel because they want to avoid tolls at Dartford. “Encouraging more vehicles to use these roads is madness – and will only make matters worse in the long run. We want to start a full and open debate about this issue, one which neither the mayor nor Greenwich Council want to have.”

Monday 7 October 2013

Deptford High Street in classic roadworks cock-up scenario

So, you know the story about how the road has just been repaved and then the bloody electricity board comes along and digs a new hole in it five minutes later, that's an urban myth right? 

I mean nobody could be as daft as to forget to put the ducts in for the new lighting columns - after all, lights surely don't need an electricity supply?

Because that level of cock-headedness is surely reserved for dim individuals who don't know their arses from their elbows?


I guess there's a very slim chance that it might happen on a £2 million project - which with that level of spending will surely be planned and managed by experienced professionals? - but it would only occur if for some utterly spectacularly moronic reason the lighting columns were being installed by one company working to its own schedule, and the highway resurfacing was being done by another company. And that they didn't talk to one another, even though they were working cheek by jowl.

What kind of idiotic system would that be? No-one could be that stupid of course.

It would not only be disruptive and embarrassing, it would be a complete waste of money if the lighting contractor put the lighting columns in with no ducts, and the paving contractor paved right up to the lighting columns, and then they had to take up all the new paving again just to put the ducts in so that the lights could be plugged into the electric, and the paving contractor had to lay the paving again, getting paid to do the same work twice.

Nah, of course it's just an urban myth. It couldn't happen here.