Transport for London (TfL) has said there are “no plans in place” to refurbish the Rotherhithe Tunnel in 2025.
Shortly before Christmas, TfL said vital maintenance of the key thoroughfare could only go ahead once the Silvertown Tunnel was completed in 2025.
This raised concerns that the tunnel could close as soon as next year but TfL has since confirmed a 2025 refurbishment isn’t expected.
When maintenance does eventually take place it’s expected to close the tunnel for nine months.
In a statement shared with the News, TfL reiterated that the refurbishment would require further government funding.
A TfL spokesperson said: “No plans are in place to refurbish the Rotherhithe Tunnel in 2025.”
They added: “A full refurbishment would only go ahead once funding has been confirmed and following the opening of the Silvertown Tunnel to ensure that people can continue to cross the river in this part of London.
“It remains the case that we will need future sustainable long-term funding support from government to enable the renewal of such major assets.”
Built in 1908, the Rotherhithe Tunnel links Limehouse, north of the river, with Rotherhithe in the south.
It wasn’t designed to withstand modern traffic levels so its ventilation system, and other tunnel infrastructure, need refurbishment to ensure it can operate for years to come.
TfL said it had already completed concept designs ready for when a full refurbishment is possible.
The closest alternative road routes across the Thames are Tower Bridge and the Blackwall Tunnel.
The Silvertown Tunnel, linking the Greenwich Peninsula with west Silvertown, has a target completion date of July to September 2025, according to the New Civil Engineer.
Mayor Sadiq Khan has admitted the Rotherhithe Tunnel’s maintenance is “a source of concern”.
TfL says the removal of its £700 million government operation grant from April 2018, followed by the pandemic, has “severely impacted” its investment in major assets.
A spokeswoman at the Department for Transport told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Central Government has given unprecedented support to TfL.
“Just this week we announced a new £250 million capital funding settlement for them as well as more than £9 million extra for the maintenance of their roads – part of over £6.6 billion of central Government support they have received since March 2020, on top of £2 billion a year in retained business rates.
“TfL is responsible for the maintenance of London transport, including the Rotherhithe Tunnel.”