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Traffic tunnel plan poses massive threat to London’s historic buildings

Transport for London should carefully consider the huge loss of historic London buildings that the plan would be likely to cause.

The Victorian Society has expressed serious concerns over the Mayor of London’s plans for two new east to west road tunnels through central London. A huge amount of demolition is likely to be necessary to build slip roads at 14 proposed tunnel entrances. Many ventilation shafts would also be needed. Transport for London should carefully consider the huge loss of historic London buildings that the plan would be likely to cause.

Christopher Costelloe, Victorian Society Director, said: ‘We must be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the mid-20th century which saw vast areas demolished for traffic schemes which are often regretted today. Large areas would probably need to be demolished to create slip roads to enter the tunnels. Sadly, building new roads has rarely seen the anticipated traffic reduction. The likely amount of demolition necessary must be weighed against the fact that the suggested benefits of the scheme, such as a 20% reduction in central London congestion, are by no means certain.’

The first tunnel, the Northern Cross City Corridor, would run from the A40 at Park Royal to the A12 at Hackney Wick. Further feasibility work on alignment, portal locations and alternative options including an orbital tunnel is currently underway. The tunnel could be built and opened by the mid to late 2030s and funded through road user charges. The second tunnel could run from the A4 in Chiswick to the A13 in Beckton. The outline map for the tunnels shows 14 entrances at sites across London where slip roads would be needed.                                               

In the mid-20th century ‘the London Motorway Box’ was proposed to create two east west and two north south routes. This would eventually be complemented by a number of ring roads.  Though never completed, parts of the project were built and remain problematic today.

Members of the public can have their say on a number of possibilities for the future of London’s roads until February 24 at an exhibition at New London Architecture ‘Streets Ahead: The future of London’s roads’.

Tuesday 9 February, 2016

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