The Royal Victoria Dock (RVD) Footbridge is a high-level bridge which bisects RVD and provides a route from Excel (close to the DLR Custom House Station) over to Britannia Village. It had two lifts that were installed at each end of the bridge. These lifts were poorly designed for the situation. The top of the lifts are open to the elements and should have been fully enclosed. This has caused numerous issues over the years. The lifts are now beyond their economic life and have real reliability issues, regardless of the sums of money which are spent on them.
RoDMA are responsible for the maintenance and refurbishment of the RVD Footbridge, but not capital replacement of items such as the lifts. In 2014 it was announced that the developer for the Silvertown Quays (Millennium Mills) had included in their design a new bridge at dock level to cross RVD from the same location on the Excel side to link up with the new development and provide direct access from the planned Crossrail Station. The intention was to have an opening (swing bridge) mechanism to allow ships to pass into the western end of RVD. The plan was that the high-level bridge would then be removed. At this point it was decided that no further options would be considered for replacement of the lifts and that their life would be extended until the new bridge was constructed. This was delayed when the investor pulled out of the development but was recommenced by the new developer in 2018.
In 2016 a decision was made to reduce the number of operating lifts on each side to one and focus all the effort in keeping these two running. In 2017, £40k was spent on refurbishing the bridge, dealing with corrosion spots and refreshing the paintwork. Many planks on the top of the bridge and walkways were also replaced. This was followed later in that year by investing a similar amount in the lifts to replace the door controllers and increase their reliability under guidance from Alimak, the manufacturer. This has increased their reliability, but the lifts are still subject to random breakdowns. Towards the end of 2018, RoDMA invested in a purchasing spare parts for the most likely breakdowns to save on the manufacturers extended lead times. The has resulted in a reduction in time from failure to rectification.
In 2018 a decision was made by the GLA to retain the existing bridge. RoDMA have had feasibility studies conducted to look at design options to replace/modernise certain elements of the lifts. We currently await a breakdown of costings before this project can be advanced.
The bridge is cleaned daily. Unfortunately, RoDMA staff have to deal regularly with the results of individuals urinating and defecating in the lifts. The doors of the lifts are frequently kicked in by individuals which causes failure and then they have to be removed from service. RoDMA continue to do all they can to present the bridge in its best condition and welcome the support of the general public in doing so.
Unfortunately, because of the age and uniqueness of the equipment some parts are not readily available, a consequence being that these parts must be made to order, which incurs a long lead time. The lift contractor has attended site several times recently and did restore functionality of the lifts. However, after several weeks of operation there is now a fault on the NE lift door closing mechanism, which is being addressed within the next week.
When a problem arises with one lift RoDMA are obligated to secure power to both sides of the bridge.
We apologise for the continuing inconvenience this causes the people which live and work around the area, everything is being done to ensure the lifts become operational as soon as possible.