Blackwall Tunnel closures prompt new police team

A police team has been drafted in to cover an east London traffic tunnel which has been closed more than 1,500 times in nine months.

The Blackwall Tunnel, which runs underneath the River Thames, is one of the busiest and most congested routes in London.

Transport for London (TfL) is funding a team of police officers to help assist any incidents immediately.

A spokesman said most of the closures were due to vehicles being too big.

'Unnecessary closures'

Garrett Emmerson, TfL's chief operating officer for London Streets, said: "For every minute the tunnel is closed, it stops up to 60 vehicles passing through.

"On an average day, these unnecessary closures, many of which occur at peak time, can stop up to 750 vehicles a day passing through the tunnel."

The Road Response Police Team will be based at the tunnel on a three month trial basis to provide immediate response to any breakdowns.

Figures from TfL show in the last nine months the tunnel has been closed 1,604 times with 70% of those closures due to drivers "ignoring" the height restriction warning signs.

Vehicle breakdowns were responsible for 287 closures, a third of which were due to vehicles running out of fuel.

The Blackwall Tunnel carries around 100,000 vehicles a day across the river.

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