The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has described the public consultation on the Silvertown Tunnel as "vital".
Responding to the announcement by Transport for London (TfL) to launch a consultation into a series of crossings planned in and around the capital, FTA said: "It is a much-needed light at the end of the tunnel and is good news for all road users.”
The Silvertown Tunnel will link the Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Docks and will provide a welcome relief to congestion and delays for drivers in East London.
At present the alternative crossing in the area is the Blackwall Tunnel, which has a 4 metre (13.1ft) height limit restricting access for taller lorries, forcing them to take lengthy detours out to the M25 in order to cross the Thames, adding to journey and delivery times.
Drivers approaching the tunnel currently face, on average, a two-mile tailback during peak periods – wasting an estimated one million hours each year by people queuing to use it and costing millions of pounds in lost time.
The Silvertown Tunnel is part of TfL’s plans for a series of new river crossings that are needed to support the capital’s rapidly growing population, which is expected to increase from 8.6 million now to 10 million by 2030.
Natalie Chapman, FTA head of policy for London, said: “After decades of underinvestment in the road network, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel for Silvertown.
"A lack of cross-river connectivity in East London is stifling growth, causing gridlock and adding to the cost of doing business in East London.
"FTA welcomes the planned Silvertown Tunnel along with a network of other promised river crossings in this part of the capital which will deliver huge benefits not only for the freight industry, but for the businesses and communities we serve.”
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