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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December, 2004, 15:52 GMT
Thames bridge gets vital backing
TfL's image of the Thames Gateway Bridge
The bridge could be completed in 2012
A proposed crossing over the River Thames in east London has been granted planning permission by Greenwich and Newham councils.

The 455m Thames Gateway Bridge could be open by 2012 and would link Beckton with Thamesmead.

The government has pledged 200m and further costs for the project will be paid for through tolls.

Both local authorities have sought assurances residents will pay a reduced toll and construction will create jobs.

The six-lane bridge still requires the approval of the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.

The bridge will link Beckton with Thamesmead at Gallions Reach
The crossing is designed to have two lanes in either direction for cars and commercial vehicles
It will also have separate lanes, located on the western side of the bridge for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists
The proposed toll is 1 for local car users and 2 for others. Exemptions similar to the congestion charge will apply
The bridge could be upgraded to accommodate Dockland Light Railway or trams in the future

Steven Joseph of the Thames Gateway London Partnership said the bridge was vital for regeneration of the area.

"Our own independent experts say that this will generate at least 17,000 jobs north and south of the river," he said.

He added residents would face reduced tolls and two of the six lanes would be used by pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.

The scheme has met with opposition from campaigners, who are calling for a public inquiry into the scheme, say it will damage the environment with congestion and pollution.

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