It was constructed to provide a key section of a new east-west route between Central London and the Royal Docks area of London Docklands. The Limehouse Link runs across the northern edge of the Isle of Dogs, providing a connection from the northern approach to Tower Bridge eastwards to a junction with the A13 just west of the River Lea.
The 1.8 km long tunnel actually comprises parallel twin tunnels, each constructed using 'cut-and-cover' methods. Planning started in 1986, construction began in November 1989 and the tunnel project was officially opened in May 1993.
The Link's design and construction cost £293 million – a large sum which can at least partly be attributed to the complex ground conditions and the need for the link to avoid several key existing structures including other tunnels and a river basin.
The western portal to the tunnel is situated at the eastern end of The Highway (A1203), just east of its junction with Butcher Row (The Highway runs along the line of the Rotherhithe Tunnel for a short distance; the northern portal of that tunnel lies just north of the Link tunnel entrance). Heading east, the tunnel passes under the north side of Limehouse Basin, turns south-east to pass underneath Limekiln Dock and Dundee Wharf (close to the embankment walls of the River Thames) before veering north-east under Westferry Road. The eastern portal to the tunnel (emerging onto the A1261 Aspen Way) lies just north of the Canary Wharf development, close to West India Quay DLR station. Through the Blackwall area, the eastern extremity of Aspen Way includes a flyover crossing of a roundabout close to the line of the twin tunnels of the Blackwall Tunnel.
While most tunnels simply provide a single route between two points, the Limehouse Link tunnel is notable for including a junction with another route. Slip roads to and from Westferry Road are situated close towards the eastern end of the twin tunnels.
The tunnel structures feature substantial works of public art. The western portal features Zadok Ben-David's circle of silhouettes, Restless Dream. The eastern portal features an untitled abstract by Nigel Hall. The eastern services building (Westferry Road) features artwork commissioned from leading British artist and sculptor Michael Kenny (1941-1999), a relief work in Kilkenny limestone entitled On Strange And Distant Islands.