Leave And Never Come Back

I just got this email from tfl: 

I am writing to let you know that Blackwall Tunnel is being refurbished to allow for safety and maintenance improvements. Most of the work will take place overnight Sundays to Thursdays, from 21:00 to 05:00. However, there are also planned closures for the following weekends:

  • 4 – 7 June
  • 2 – 5 July
  • 9 – 12 July
  • 10 – 13 September

During the closures there will be access for northbound traffic via the southbound Tunnel. However drivers going southbound are advised to find alternative routes.  

Now. This use of the word “advised”. I spent some time staring at the mail trying to work out whether there will be some kind of contraflow (despite their saying there wouldn’t be) or whether they really are changing the southbound to northbound for some inexplicable reason. Does ‘advise’ mean ‘strongly suggest as the queues will be bloody awful’ or ‘don’t even bother trying to go south, we’re using the tunnel for people who want to leave – I mean who in their right mind would want to go south of the river anyway?’ 

In the end I checked the website. It’s the latter. We can leave The South - but not return during the hours of darkness. But why couldn’t they just say that instead of using the weasel double-entendre ‘advise?’ Bah.



7 Comments to “Leave And Never Come Back”

  1. David says:


    Not just the hours of darkness I’m afraid. You can’t get South of the river using the Blackwall tunnel all weekend. Darkness or Daylight.

    Which spells traffic chaos for all of South East London if you’re trying to go East from the Rotherhithe or Tower Bridge.

  2. Jeb says:

    Fun for all those returning from a half-term break!

    Wonder why it’s always southbound they close.

  3. Steve says:

    Some lights with generous slots (5mins?) allowing two-way traffic would have been preferable, no?

  4. Steve says:

    I’m afraid this has been a bone of contention for years. The closure of either tunnel wouldn’t have been such a problem but the faceless bureaucrats at City Hall have been using the “health and safety” excuse to prevent the implementation of Boris Johnson’s election manifesto pledge to reinstate contraflow.

  5. Peter says:

    I remember a memorable journey back from wembley arena to kent a few years back, we had gone up for a concert, and I was driving my daughter and two of her friends back after the concert, this finished at 10pm so we finally got out onto the North circular by just gone 11pm
    half way round the North circular there was roadworks, that entailed leaving on the slip road and returning back on via the sliproad the other side of the roundabout above the North Circular, this added an hour in the queues to achieve this. then we got to the Blackwall tunnel, which was closed southbound (we found out after 45 minutes queueing) so we went with everyone else and eventually crossed via the Rotherhythe tunnel, another half hour lost. then we fought our way through London and out onto the A2 southbound for Kent. that went quite well with a minor holdup at roadworks near Gravesend, on to the M2, down to faversham, then our final delay, a big queue for the end of the motorway- they had closed the A2 from Faversham down to Canterbury, another detour of about 10 miles and we safely arrived home at gone 3AM for a journey that should only have taken a couple of hours at that time of night – none of the closures had been signposted on the outbound route as that wasnt being closed, it just seemed that nobody wanted us to be able to drive south that night. So with memories from that experience still vivid in my brain, I can quite sympathise with you.

  6. methers says:

    At least we have more information on what’s going on nowadays. There’s been another recent email from TfL informing us that the 2-5 July closure is cancelled, to replaced by a closure 16-19 July.

    More information here:


    The info booklet is worth a look at, both for the information and a couple of nice old pictures:


    The londontraffic.org site is a useful one for anyone using the Blackwall:


  7. Martin says:

    thanks methers that londontraffic.org site kicks ass just what i was looking for. it even works on my iphone. sweet.