Ken gives the nod to PFI bridge

Ken Livingstone has announced today that he expects the Thames Gateway Bridge project to be completed by 2017.

Speaking at the Thames Gateway forum, the mayor of London said the troubled bridge – so far it has been beset by lengthy public inquiries and environmental objections – will be done and dusted “pretty much the same time as the opening of Crossrail.”

The mayor added that the money was “ringfenced and available” and the decision to go ahead with Crossrail earlier this year had helped to moves things along for the Bridge.

Livingstone also said that the Metronet collapse would not influence decisions made on funding for the Thames Gateway Regeneration. “The bridge will remain a PFI, the government’s already given us £350m worth of PFI credits. I don’t have any problems with the Thames Gateway being a PFI so long as it gets built,” he said.

The £458m Thames Gateway Bridge project will involve the building of a river crossing between Beckton and Thamesmead with two lanes segregated for public transport and lanes for cyclists and pedestrians. The Bridge was originally expected to open in 2013 with a preferred bidder announced by 2009 but planning issues, public opposition and uncertainty surrounding its financing have delayed it.