Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnel closures drag on to June

Works to renovate the foot tunnels at Greenwich and Woolwich are running behind schedule, with the Woolwich Foot Tunnel staying closed until June, it was revealed at Wednesday night’s Greenwich Council meeting.

Currently, the Greenwich tunnel is closed overnight on weekdays with no lifts, while the Woolwich tunnel has been closed altogether since September 2010, as part of a scheme to refurbish both river crossings.

Work on the Greenwich tunnel was blighted by lift failures while the stairs were closed, resulting in 20 unscheduled closures in the month of January alone. (See this document supplied under the Freedom of Information Act.)

Meanwhile, problems with the stairs in the Woolwich tunnel meant it had to be closed altogether shortly after engineers began replacing the lifts.

With only a narrow stairwell available at Greenwich, the foot tunnel will be closed altogether** only be open northbound from 10am-noon on London Marathon day, 17 April.

The £11.5m scheme was due to be finished this month, but a written answer from Greenwich Council cabinet member Denise Hyland revealed that it will continue at least to June.

In response to a question from Greenwich Cyclists‘ Anthony Austin, she said: “The main works at Greenwich Foot Tunnel will be concluded in June 2011. The tunnel will then be open 24 hours a day. Commissioning of the lifts and incorporating the CCTV system into the monitoring room will continue to the end of July 2011.

“The delay beyond March 2011 has been caused by additional works to the crown of the tunnel, uncovered by the removal of the tunnel roof vent which in turn has impacted on the re-cabling and associated CCTV, lighting and public address systems.

“The Woolwich Foot Tunnel will re-open to the public in June 2011, with extensive replacement of stair elements currently in progress. Scaffolding has also been required within both lift shafts to enable strengthening works at the junction of stairs and lift shafts to be carried out.

“This has had a knock-on effect on the installation of the lifts and electrical installation on the stairs.”

When the work is finally finished, both tunnels will be served by unstaffed lifts which will be open all day and all night, and monitored by CCTV cameras.

**(UPDATE 8 APRIL: Despite contradictory information on Transport for London’s website, Greenwich Council has asked me to make clear the tunnel will be open for northbound users only, and that a free boat service will be provided from Greenwich Pier to Canary Wharf between 10.30am-1pm.)


  1. Let’s hope that the DLR doesn’t break down again on Marathon day like it did a few years ago. The tunnel was the only way my sister could get across to see her husband running through Docklands…

  2. To be honest this is a relief to some extent – re: Woolwich “with extensive replacement of stair elements currently in progress”. I really did suspect that work was not ever going to begin and they were going to write off the tunnel as a bad job. It’s only how I expect Woolwich to be treated.

  3. just noticed on the Greenwich council website june 2011 has now become august 2011 for the Woolwich foot tunnel to re-open! groan! How much longer will I have to get the ferry across to the North side on my bike commute to work! Bad weather can’t be a reason this time so why do they need another 2 months, any explanation? Couldn’t be to do with the cuts could it (and lack of workmen)?

  4. […] While both tunnels were meant to stay open while work was taking place, the Woolwich tunnel closed altogether last autumn, firstly because of problems with its stairs, and later because of “additional works to the crown of the tunnel”, according to Greenwich cabinet member Denise Hyland, who said in March that the tunnel would re-open in June. […]

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