UPDATED 5.30pm: Drivers will be able to cross London Bridge without paying the Congestion Charge when Tower Bridge is closed to road traffic for repainting thanks to lobbying efforts backed by Simon Hughes MP.
Work began last autumn on a 3-year, £4 million repainting programme for the landmark river crossing which aims to have the bridge looking its best for the 2012 London Olympics.
"The closure of Tower Bridge for two weeks this year and for three months in 2010 has greatly worried many people who use the bridge, often on a daily basis," says North Southwark and Bermondsey MP Simon Hughes.
"Tower Bridge is not in the Congestion Charge zone. However, while the bridge is closed many drivers would have had to go over London Bridge and pay the Congestion Charge or go through Rotherhithe Tunnel which already often has serious congestion.
"I am delighted that Transport for London has now agreed to my campaign for a Congestion Charge exempt route over London Bridge while Tower Bridge is closed."
"But there is still work to be done for pedestrians and cyclists. I am pleased that TfL is looking at my suggestion of a ferry service for people who use their feet or pedals. Although TfL are still saying they will not agree to a ferry for the short two week closure in March, they have confirmed that they will speak to boat operators and pier owners about the possiblility of a ferry service during the three month closure in 2010.
"It is really important that people walk and cycle wherever possible, and otherwise use public transport. Transport for London should be doing everything possible to support this."
A TfL spokesperson said: "TfL has had discussions with the City of London about proposals for closing Tower Bridge to facilitate maintenance work, however no date has been agreed or confirmed for these works to take place."
The City of London Corporation says that there will be a short 6 to 8-hour closure of the bridge during a weekend this spring.
The last major closure of Tower Bridge was in 2005 when the carriageway was resurfaced. Similar Congestion Charge arrangements were put in place during that blockade. A ferry service was provided in 2002 when work was carried out on the bridge's lifting mechanism.
• You can follow progress on the repainting of the bridge at www.thetowerbridge.info
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