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Blackwall Tunnels

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Blackwall Tunnel
Location Map ( geo)
Entering the Blackwall Tunnel Northbound.jpg
Entering the northbound tunnel
Cameraicon.png View gallery (13)
From:  North Greenwich
To:  Blackwall
Kent • Middlesex
Highway Authority
Transport for London
Opening Date
1897 (1st Bore)
1967 (2nd bore)
Additional Information
Tunnel Type:  Bored
Length:  1300m (4265 ft)
On road(s)

The Blackwall Tunnels are a pair of Tunnels on the A102 under the River Thames in London.


The first Blackwall Tunnel was opened in 1897 in an age before motor vehicles. As such it is designed for horse drawn traffic and includes a number of tight bends, reputedly to prevent horses seeing daylight in the distance. By the 1960s, traffic levels had reached the point where a second tunnel was required; this was built to the east of the original tunnel and to a more modern aligment. The new tunnel opened in 1967 and now carries southbound traffic, leaving the original tunnel to carry northbound traffic.

In the 1970s, the two tunnels were incorporated into the East Cross Route, one of the few London Ringway Projects to see the light of day.

When roads were first numbered, the Blackwall Tunnel and its approach roads were allocated the number A102, which it still holds today.


While the tunnels themselves are not listed, several of the features are.

Northbound Tunnel

  • Northern portal and parapet to the Blackwall Tunnel Grade II
  • Southern gatehouse to the Blackwall Tunnel Grade II

Southbound Tunnel


Tidal Flow

For many years in the morning peak hour, a tidal flow system operated through the southbound tunnel, enabling three northbound lanes to operate across the river, with only one southbound lane available. This could not be reversed in the evening peak period as the northbound tunnel is now deemed incapable of taking two way traffic. Tidal flow was suspended in 2007 (check) following representations from the police.

Tidal flow was operated using a mix of traffic signs and physical barriers. The southern cross over was situated between the Blackwall Lane junction and the tunnel portal, with the northern crossover being situated north of the A13 underpass. (A second crossover exists north of the tunnel portal; this is only used when there is a full closure of the northbound tunnel).

Third Tunnel

Early 90s bridge proposal

A third bore has been proposed on a number of occasions due to the lack of capacity of the existing tunnels and in particular, the deficient design of the northbound tunnel. By the early 1990s the idea of a third bore had given way to a dual 2-lane bridge. The existing tunnels would be retained as south facing slip roads to the A13. This would in effect give D4 capacity through the crossing. In addition, a north facing junction would leave the new bridge to provide a direct link to Prestons Road (A1206). Despite the line of the bridge being protected in 1990 the scheme was later abandoned.

The current proposal to provide additional capacity is the Silvertown Tunnel although this will not connect with the A12 at its northern end.

Blackwall Tunnels
Related Pictures
View gallery (13)
A102 New Blackwall Tunnel - Coppermine - 21694.jpgA102 New Blackwall Tunnel - Coppermine - 21693.jpgToo much information! - Geograph - 1572290.jpgA102 Northbound at Blackwall Tunnel - Coppermine - 1794.jpgA102(M) 1995 - Coppermine - 163.jpg
Crossings of the River Thames
Thames Head Bridge • A429 Road Bridge • Three Bridges • Town Bridge • A419 Road Bridge • Castle Eaton Bridge • Hannington Bridge • Halfpenny Bridge • St Johns Bridge • Radcot Bridge • Tadpole Bridge • Newbridge • Swinford Bridge • Thames Bridge (A34) • Godstow & Little Godstow Bridges • Osney Bridge • Folly Bridge • Donnington Bridge • Isis Bridge • Abingdon Bridge • Sutton Bridge • Clifton Hampden Bridge • Little Wittenham Bridge • Shillingford Bridge • Wallingford Bridge • Winterbrook Bridge • Streatley & Goring Bridge • Whitchurch Bridge • Caversham Bridge • Reading Bridge • Sonning Bridge • Henley Bridge • Marlow Bridge • Longridge Bridge • Cookham Bridge • Maidenhead Bridge • New Thames Bridge • Queen Elizabeth Bridge • Windsor Bridge • Victoria Bridge • Albert Bridge • Runnymede • Staines Bridge • M3 Thames Bridge • Chertsey Bridge • Walton Bridge • Hampton Court Bridge • Kingston Bridge • Richmond Bridge • Twickenham Bridge • Kew Bridge • Chiswick Bridge • Hammersmith Bridge • Putney Bridge • Wandsworth Bridge • Battersea Bridge • Albert Bridge • Chelsea Bridge • Vauxhall Bridge • Lambeth Bridge • Westminster Bridge • Waterloo Bridge • Blackfriars Bridge • Southwark Bridge • London Bridge • Tower Bridge • Rotherhithe Tunnel • Blackwall Tunnels • Silvertown Tunnel • Woolwich Ferry • Thames Gateway Crossing • Belvedere Bridge • Dartford Crossing (Dartford TunnelQEII BridgeNew Dartford Bridge) • Gravesend - Tilbury Ferry • Lower Thames Crossing

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