Mayor of London Sadiq Khan this morning promised to intervene personally with Transport for London in an effort to end the lengthy delays in re-opening Blackhorse Lane bridge in Addiscombe.
The 120-year-old bridge, which crosses the tram tracks, had become unsafe for heavy traffic and larger modern vehicles, and was closed in 2016. Works had been due to begin last year to strengthen the bridge, with it due to re-open early in 2019, but earlier this month TfL advised Croydon Council that work would not be completed until 2020, at the earliest.
“That’s just not good enough,” Mayor Khan said this morning at City Hall, during his regular Mayor’s Question Time sessions.
The Mayor was responding to questioning from Steve O’Connell, the Tory Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton, who raised the spectre that the bridge could be closed for the duration of Khan’s mayoralty.
Today was the first time since 2016 that “Silent Steve” had raised at Mayor’s QT what he described as the “serious” matter of the bridge’s closure.
Ahead of today’s meeting, Khan has also received representations from Croydon Council and Croydon Central’s Labour MP, Sarah Jones, whose constituency office is just a few yards away from the bridge. Jones has called upon TfL to pay compensation to local traders for their lost business as a result of the bridge delays.
Today, the Mayor expressed his concern that the disruption caused by the bridge’s on-going closure had already caused at least one local retailer to close down their business.
“We were told that the high-level indicative programme estimates a completion date of around a year from now,” Khan said.
“That’s just not good enough.
“And so, I’ve personally intervened in that and we’re working with TfL to see what we can do to interrogate that indicative timeline to speed that up
“We here at City Hall can’t dismiss this as a local project because local businesses are really being affected.”
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