Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google+ Addthis

South Dock Bridge

South Dock Bridge - developed design stage

The purpose of this current consultation is to present the design of the bridge. Have your say on the latest South Dock Bridge consultation.


The South Dock Bridge project is gaining momentum and we are getting closer to delivering this exciting project that will support the development of the local area. Find out about the progress made to date and what is planned for the coming months.

Project overview

This project relates to the delivery of a new pedestrian link identified as South Dock Bridge on the Upper Bank Street Alignment (Canary Wharf Ward) to support the large quantum of development now underway in South Quay and the Isle of Dogs.

The South Dock Bridge project aims to improve walkable connections between existing public open spaces, like Jubilee Park, with proposed development in the area and local public transport interchanges. Fulfilling this vision involves a number of project development stages as follows:

  • Stage 1 - Defining the project/project brief – COMPLETE
  • Stage 2 – Concept design – COMPLETE
  • Stage 3 – Developed design – UNDERWAY
  • Stage 4 – Technical design
  • Stage 5 – Construction

The following sections give more details on the work carried out to date for each stage.

Why do we need a new bridge over South Dock

Significant new developments on the Isle of Dogs will generate crossing demand. The new Crossrail station (Elizabeth line) will attract more pedestrians from the area and there is a need to improve access to South Quay DLR station.

The existing bridge (known as the Wilkinson Eyre Bridge) is approaching its capacity at peak times in terms of comfort levels. There is therefore the need to provide for a new crossing to accommodate the predicted increase in pedestrian traffic. The new bridge is likely to become one of the busiest pedestrian bridges in London.

What are the benefits to the local area

The bridge will link new development at South Quay with Canary Wharf and Wood Wharf. It will be designed to accommodate projected pedestrian flows well into the future. It will shorten walking 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.

Aerial view of the area with bridge alignment shown in red

Aerial view of the area with bridge alignment shown in red

New bridge location South Quay

Bridge location, view from south to north quay

Stage 2: Design and consultation results

The South Dock Bridge public consultation on the Stage 2 conceptual design took place from 12 February to 23 March 2018.

We received 172 responses to the consultation, including 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 respondents, with the Denmark example (Butterfly Bridge, Copenhagen) being the most preferred example of good bridge design, closely followed by the New Zealand example (Lower Hatea Crossing, Whangarei).

Butterfly Bridge in Copenhagen


 Lower Hatea Bridge in Whangarei, New Zealand (photo by Patrick Reynolds)

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.

This feedback is being used to inform the stage 3 design.

The consultation report and further details about the 2018 consultation are available on the South Dock Bridge consultation page.

Stage 3: Design proposals

Building on the positive responses and feedback from the stakeholder engagement and public consultation, the Stage 3 design is now progressing at pace. Given the importance expressed for design and appearance we are looking at options to develop a striking bascule bridge design. We are also looking at options for improving the landscaping on the northern land point.

The following image gallery shows some early images of the proposed single leaf bascule bridge design. 

South Dock Bridge Operation

1 of 4
2 of 4
3 of 4
4 of 4



The key design principles defined in Stage 2 remain and are as follows:

  • The bridge must allow for access for all levels of mobility, ensuring comfortable and safe gradients on the bridge and approaches
  • The bridge must be a minimum of 7.8m wide for pedestrians to use comfortably
  • 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 vessels
  • The opening mechanism must be swift
  • Space should be available for pedestrians to wait on the bridge rather than having to wait on the dockside
  • The bridge should benefit pedestrian connectivity and contribute to the development of a destination space

In addition, following the feedback on the Stage 2 design, the bridge will now be pedestrian only to ensure the safety of users.  The bridge design package considers navigation of cyclists along a dedicated North-South cycle path, promoting cycling in a safe environment.

A further public consultation will be held in 2020 to give local residents and stakeholders the chance to comment on the Stage 3 design proposals before the planning application is submitted.

Who is delivering the project

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets is leading the delivery of the bridge together with a highly experienced team of engineers, urban designers and architects who have a proven record of delivering innovative infrastructure projects.

The design team is being led by Arcadis Consulting who are undertaking the civil, structural and geotechnical engineering, urban/landscape design, environmental and planning inputs.  Renowned bridge designers Knight Architects are providing the architectural design.

Moving bridge specialists KGAL Consulting are providing the mechanical and electrical design and Logictree Consulting are providing specialist stakeholder engagement services.


The project has been funded by the council using contributions from development in the area including Community Infrastructure Levy funding and Section 106 funding, with some financial support from Transport for London.

The council has also successfully bid for £7m business rates funding from London Councils

Sponsorship and other commercial opportunities are also being considered for the bridge which will help to contribute towards the long-term maintenance and operation of the bridge.


  • 2015-2016: Stage 1 design. Concept and feasibility tested. Location and mechanism identified.

  • 2017-2018: Stage 2 design. Bascule lifting bridge design agreed. Ongoing engagement with stakeholders including stage 2 public consultation.

  • 2019: Stage 3 design. Ongoing engagement with stakeholders. Planning pre-application.

  • 2020: Stage 3 public consultation, developed design agreed, planning application. Stage 4 designs. 

  • 2021: Construction of South Dock Bridge begins.

  • 2022: Opening of South Dock Bridge.

The timelines are only guides and subject to change.

Project contact details

If you have any queries regarding South Dock Bridge, please contact the Infrastructure Planning team:

Tel: 020 7364 2451
Email: Infrastructure.Planning@towerhamlets.gov.uk