London mayor plans two huge tunnels to ease congestion
04 February 2016
Author: Daniel Puddicombe
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has outlined plans for the capital's roads, including two huge east-west tunnels which he claims will reduce congestion by up to 20%.
The mayor has also proposed a devolution of Londoners' car tax which would ensure revenue is reinvested in the city's roads, and a number of tunnels and 'flyunders' to ease congestion and free up more space for housing.
The first tunnel, according to Transport for London and the mayor, would run from the A40 at Park Royal to the A12 at Hackney Wick, while a second tunnel would run between the A4 at Chiswick and the A13 in Beckton.
Alternative options include an orbital tunnel, which TfL said could be opened by the mid-to-late 2030s, and would be funded through road charging.
TfL also confirmed that a new Silverton tunnel, linking the Greenwich Peninsula and Greenwich Docks under the Thames would be operational by 2022/3, with the new crossing aiming to relieve pressure on the Blackwall tunnel.
According to Johnson, an extra million trips a day are being added to the capital's road network every five years. If left unmanaged, congestion would increase by 60% over the next 15 years in central London, 25% in inner London and 15% in outer London unless new plans are put in place, Boris claims.
TfL has already indentified a number of smaller tunnels and 'flyunders' across London, including the A13 in Barking and the A3 at Tolworth, which would have the potential to release land for up to 6000 homes combined, by building on existing roads.
The mayor also called on the Government to consider devolving the revenue from Vehicle Excise Duty paid by Londoners to London, allowing the mayor to directly invest money collected into the capital's roads rather than it being diverted into general national tax revenue.
TfL says it has also initiated work to simplify payments for services such as the Congestion Charge, the Ultra Low Emission Zone charges and tolls from future tunnels. TfL will examine whether charges could be integrated to form a single, more sophisticated method of paying to use roads in the capital, without charging motorists more.
London's roads account for 80% of the public space in the capital, 80% of all journeys and 90% of all goods moved, according to the mayor's office. Every year 3.8 billion journeys are made by lorries, cars, motorbikes and taxis within the capital - more than 400 journeys for every Londoner.
"London is booming and, as our great capital thrives, our ambitions for the veins and arteries that keep our city alive must grow with it," said Boris Johnson, "Around eight of every ten journeys in London are made using our roads - whether by car, taxi, motorbike, bus, cycle, foot, or freight - which is why it is vital that we think big."
"Our major programme of capital investment in the city's roads is transforming neighbourhoods across the city, making our roads safer, and cleaning up our air," he added.