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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 05:18 GMT 06:18 UK
Application for new Thames bridge
TfL's image of the Thames Gateway Bridge
The bridge could open in 2012
Transport for London (TfL) will hand in a planning application on Thursday for a new crossing over the Thames.

The 385m Thames Gateway Bridge will link Newham and Greenwich in east London.

After a public consultation the plans have changed to include priority for local traffic, a 40mph speed limit and a separate public transport lane.

The application will be submitted to both Newham and Greenwich councils, with a decision expected in November.

If the councils approve the application, then the bridge could be completed in 2012 - a year ahead of the projected opening.

The bridge is an important part of Mayor of London Ken Livingstone's plans to regenerate the Thames Gateway, a 40-mile-wide area from east and south-east London to Kent and Essex.

Map showing the  location of the proposed bridge
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
There are only three crossings for traffic to the east of Tower Bridge, while central London has eight bridges and there are 16 to the west between Chelsea Bridge and the M25.

The initial costs of the Thames Gateway Bridge will be put up by a private company.

It will recoup the funds through tolls and 200m of government funding confirmed in Chancellor Gordon Brown's spending review earlier this month.

Thames Gateway Bridge project director Mike Clarke told BBC News Online that the three year construction project would create up to 3,000 local jobs.

But he said the effect of the bridge on jobs in the area will be "even greater".

"The lack of a crossing in the area has been to its detriment and this bridge will bring huge benefit to the Thames Gateway," he said.

"We are very positive that the councils will give their approval.

"We know local residents are behind us because during the public consultation, 85% of those that took part, including local businesses, backed the plans."

But environmentalists have criticised the scheme claiming it will be used by businesses to transport more road freight, creating more pollution.

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