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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 May, 2003, 05:26 GMT 06:26 UK
Thames bridge plans put to public
Mayor Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone says the bridge could be funded by tolls

Plans for a six-lane "motorway-style" bridge over the Thames which the Mayor of London hopes will encourage investment are being put to residents.

People are being asked what they think about the 425m Thames Gateway Bridge linking Beckton, in Newham, east London to Thamesmead, in Greenwich, south-east London.

The crossing is part of the plans to redevelop the Thames Gateway, a 40-mile-wide area stretching from east and south-east London to Kent and Essex.

The bridge could be part-funded by tolls and mayor Ken Livingstone says it is possible it could mean the end of the free Woolwich Ferry service.

It is one of four new river crossings he says are necessary to bring investment, jobs and homes to the under-developed area.

And Mr Livingstone claims, by charging HGVs and long-distance traffic more to use the crossing, it is estimated that 90% of traffic would be local.

But environmentalists say the plans are flawed and damaging, and will mean extra traffic and more pollution.

Friends of the Earth says the scheme will complete dual carriageways to the north and south of the river and will be used by businesses to transport more road freight.

If it is given the go-ahead, the bridge would be likely to open in 2010.

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