South Dock Bridge consultation

South Dock Bridge stage 2 consultation report

The South Dock Bridge public consultation on conceptual design took place from 12 February to 23 March 2018.

We received 172 responses to the consultation, plus feedback from the consultation events and from meetings with stakeholders.

The feedback from the consultation shows strong support for the bridge with 96 per cent of respondents saying they are in favour of the bridge and would use the bridge once it is delivered.

The design and appearance of the bridge was identified as a high priority for people, with the Denmark example (Butterfly Bridge, Copenhagen) being the most preferred example of good bridge design.

The greatest issue arising from the consultation related to combined pedestrian and cycle use, with a number of respondents stating that pedestrian and cycle use should be segregated, due to safety concerns about collisions.

The feedback from the consultation will be used to inform the next stage of design.

Download the South Dock Bridge Consultation report.

This consultation has now ended

We are consulting on a proposed new pedestrian and cycle bridge to connect Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs, called South Dock Bridge. An earlier study has shown that the bridge should align with Upper Bank Street on the north bank of the South Dock and the Berkeley Homes 'South Quay Plaza' scheme on the south bank.

Areas covered

The bridge will have a lifting (bascule) mechanism to allow boats through when necessary and sufficient height to allow smaller boats through at all times. The bridge will integrate with public realm on the north and south banks and the team is working with key stakeholders to ensure an approach that balances the needs of all.

We are launching an exhibition to show proposed plans for the new bridge and illustrate how the bridge might look. These are early concept designs, and more detailed designs will follow to support a detailed planning application later in 2018.

We welcome your input on the early concept bridge designs. All feedback received will be reviewed and will help to inform the detailed design.

Why do we need a new bridge?

Significant new developments on the Isle of Dogs will generate greater pedestrian and cycling flows. The new Crossrail station will attract more pedestrians from the area and there is a need to improve access to South Quay DLR station. The existing bridge (also known as the Wilkinson Eyre Bridge) is approaching its capacity at peak times in terms of comfort levels.

The new bridge will become one of the busiest pedestrian bridges in London.

South Dock Bridge Artist Impression

How will it help?

The bridge will link new development on the Isle of Dogs with Canary Wharf and Wood Wharf. It will share the load of new crossing demand with the existing bridge. It will shorten walking and cycling times to the new Crossrail station and other public transport links, as well as improving access to jobs, retail and other town centre services at Canary Wharf. It will be wheelchair accessible and cater for all potential users.

The council is also considering how the bridge will integrate with the wider walking and cycling network on the Isle of Dogs, which are due to be enhanced in coming years.

Key considerations for the bridge design

The design must address a number of issues, which include:

  • the bank on the north dock is higher than the south dock, and the bridge must overcome this level difference, whilst having comfortable gradients for all users
  • the approach areas must balance pedestrian flows with the role of these spaces for play and amenity - particularly on the south bank
  • the bridge must be a minimum of 7.8m wide for pedestrians and cyclists to use comfortably
  • the pedestrian and cycle paths will not be dividedas this would require a wider approach path than is available
  • on the north bank, a basement exists with fire escape steps leading to dock level. This access must be retained.

Access for boats

The bridge must maintain access to the dock for boats, the key issues include:

  • the bridge must have a permanent navigable channel 15m wide for smaller boats to pass underneath
  • the bridge must open to give a 25m wide navigable channel for taller boats.
  • boat mooring points must remain available on the south dock wall
  • the opening mechanism must be swift - the existing bridge requires long waits while it opens and close
  • space should be available for pedestrians to wait on the bridge rather than having to wait on the dockside where there is limited space. 

Materials and finishes

The bridge will need to be strong, slender and light to allow boats to fit underneath and to support a lifting mechanism.

It is, therefore, very likely to be made from steel. However, the surface finish could vary and we would like to know your views on this.

It could be left raw, to weather or be painted in a neutral, bright or dark tone. The surface of the bridge deck will be designed to be smooth and quiet to walk on. 

Bridges with bascule mechanism

Here are examples of bridges which open with a bascule mechanism. We would like to know which of these you prefer:

  • Copenhagen, Denmark: Light-weight opening pedestrian & cycle bridge
  • Rotterdam, Netherlands: Counter-weighted opening pedestrian & cycle bridge
  • Whangarei, New Zealand: Rolling counter-weighted opening road bridge


Material finishes and bridge options

1 of 7
Bright finish
2 of 7
Dark finish
3 of 7
Natural finish
4 of 7
Raw finish
5 of 7
Butterfly Bridge in Copenhagen
6 of 7
Rotterdam Bascule Bridge
7 of 7
Whangarei Harbour bridge © Copyright SPI IND

Bright finish
Dark finish
Natural finish
Raw finish
Butterfly Bridge in Copenhagen
Rotterdam Bascule Bridge
Whangarei Harbour bridge © Copyright SPI IND


  • 2015-2016: Concept and feasibility tested. Location and mechanism identified.
  • 2016-2017: Ongoing engagement with stakeholders.
  • 2018: Bridge design and consultation. Planning application submission.
  • 2019-2020: Construction of South Dock Bridge.
  • 2020: Opening of South Dock Bridge.

Who is delivering the project?

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets is leading the delivery of this infrastructure and has assembled an expert project team to help deliver a high quality bridge and attractive public realm.

The project is supported by Transport for London, which is providing policy and technical support. The design team comprises: Steer Davies Gleave transport engineers; Allies and Morrison architects; and Arcadis engineers.

So far, the project has been funded by the council using contributions from development in the area, with some financial support from Transport for London. The council is currently seeking additional investment in the project from other sources.


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