Greenwich Foot Tunnel’s full reopening has been delayed once again, with users facing night time closures and no lifts until September, it has emerged.
Work on the Woolwich Foot Tunnel, which has been completely closed since last year, will also not be finished until August.
There has been no formal announcement of the delay, and there are no notices at the Greenwich tunnel to explain the latest situation to the thousands of walkers and cyclists who use it each day.
Instead, Greenwich Council has buried the news on its website, explaining the six-month delay at Greenwich is down to “additional works and problems with materials used in the repairs”.
There is no explanation for why the works at Woolwich are taking five months longer than planned.
Work on both tunnels should have finished in March, but the completion date was then pushed back to June, before being moved to August and September without any announcement.
While operated by Greenwich Council, the two tunnels are used by walkers and cyclists from across London – and particularly by cyclists from neighbouring Lewisham borough.
London Assembly transport committee chair Caroline Pidgeon wrote to Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts in February asking for explanations about why the refurbishment project was taking so long. Cllr Roberts has not replied. In 2009, Roberts suggested she direct her questions to a Labour member of the assembly.
In April, the Liberal Democrat politician sent a follow-up letter to Greenwich chief executive Mary Ney – but eight weeks later, the £190,000/year council boss has also not responded. (See both letters here.)
Pidgeon said: “For four months the leader of Greenwich Council has repeatedly failed to answer any of my questions I have put to him about the fiasco of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel.
“Does he really think the incompetence and false promises over the Greenwich and Woolwich foot tunnels can be swept under the carpet?
“Greenwich Council should come clean and provide a firm date for when pedestrians and cyclists can finally return to using the two tunnels 24 hours a day.
“A full explanation and apology for the delays would also be welcome.”
The £11.5m project includes repairing the tunnels and stairwells, installing new CCTV and replacing the 19-year-old lifts with models that do not need attendants. It has been beset by difficulties, including the complete closure of the Woolwich tunnel due to problems with the stairwell and almost-daily closures of the Greenwich tunnel due to lift problems.