Tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Rotherhithe Tunnel, one of the capital’s major crossings for traffic moving between the two sides of the River Thames.
Commissioned by the London County Council the tunnel was originally built for horse-drawn traffic at a cost of £2 million and was opened on 12th June 1908 by HRH the Prince of Wales.
According to Transport for London who now have responsibility for the tunnel more than 34,000 pass through it every day. Describing the construction of the tunnel as “a huge feat of engineering in its time” TfL’s Peter Brown says it “remains a vital link between north and south, though the type and volume of traffic has changed dramatically.
“Today, TfL engineers work tirelessly to ensure the tunnel can cope safely with the constant pressures associated with 34,000 vehicles a day, some 13 times greater than the volume of traffic it originally carried.”
The tunnel is 4,860 feet long, of which 1,500 feet are under the river, and has a 27 foot diameter.
Around 25,000 tonnes of cast iron, 20,000 tonnes of cement and half a million white glazed bricks were used in what was an extensive construction operation that also involved the displacement of nearly 3000 Londoners from both sides of the river.
Source: Transport for London