The new pedestrian and cycle crossing would connect Nine Elms with the Pimlico embankment. Its exact location is yet to be confirmed but the council’s preferred options are close to the site of the new US Embassy.
The bridge is part of a £2bn infrastructure package aiming to make Nine Elms a new transport hub with two new Northern Line tube stops.
Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council and co-chair of the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership, said: “The design will have to inspire and win the hearts of Londoners who are tremendously proud of their river and its heritage. It must work alongside the cutting edge modern architecture of Nine Elms as well as the elegant buildings on the north bank. There will be engineering feats to overcome and the landing points on both sides must integrate sensitively and effectively with their surroundings.
“This bridge has the potential to become a powerful icon for the revival of Nine Elms which will help us bring new life, jobs and homes to this underused part of London. It would also help connect communities north of the river with these new opportunities and create a valuable transport link for our growing city.”
The area’s other transport upgrades include two new Tube stops, two riverbus piers, remodelled streets based on cycle friendly Dutch designs and major upgrades to three existing rail stations including the Vauxhall interchange.
Once a design is in place Wandsworth Council will explore further funding options which could see the bridge built sooner. This could include sponsorship.
The plan for the design competition comes after a TfL feasibility study confirmed the bridge would cost around £40m and carry around 9,000 walkers and 9,000 cyclists a day.
Plans for the competition will now be finalised and the official launch could take place in winter 2014. A shortlist would be selected in early 2015 and the winning design announced in spring the same year. The final designs would need planning approval from Wandsworth and Westminster Councils, and sign off from the Mayor.