I do not regret promising to deliver the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf pedestrian and cycle bridge in my 2016 manifesto. This scheme would be transformational, supporting sustainable growth in the Opportunity Areas of Canada Water and Canary Wharf and encouraging more walking and cycling between east and south London in line with the objectives set out in my Transport Strategy.
The proposals are unprecedented, however, representing one of the longest bridges of its kind anywhere in the world. This, added to the challenges of the River Thames and a developed inner London environment, means the scheme is incredibly complex. I was pleased to oversee Transport for London’s (TfL’s) work to better understand these factors, develop quality designs and clear plans for its safe construction and operation. However, this work demonstrated the costs of the scheme to be significantly greater than originally anticipated, and so TfL took the decision that it is not affordable at this time. This was a tough decision but ultimately it was the right decision and one in which I fully support TfL.
The current impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on TfL’s finances only bring into sharper focus the affordability of such major investments in London’s transport network, and reinforce the pragmatic decision that TfL had to take on this scheme.