Early stages of London road tunnel project unveiled

Mayor of London and TfL looking at potential for tunnel system to ease traffic congestion on London’s streets

The Mayor of London’s office has today revealed that it is in the early stages of drawing up plans to construct a 22-mile long underground road-way, as part of a bid to improve air quality on the streets of the capital.

Inner orbital tunnel concept - The black lines indicate (a) the existing Inner Ring Road (the small one) and (b) the north and south circular roadsPreliminary plans for the ‘Inner Orbital Tunnel’ which is being drawn up in partnership with Transport for London would link areas of North London with Battersea and Old Kent Road.

The plans follow on from a report by the Mayor’s Roads Task Force published in July 2013, in which it looked at similar schemes that had been employed in other countries. These included the Bjørvika Tunnel in the centre of Oslo which opened in 2010.

Commenting on the proposals, Isabel Dedring, London’s deputy mayor for transport, said: “The Mayor’s independent Roads Task Force has created a strategic direction for London’s roads, designed to tackle congestion and improve quality of life in London. Once of the key recommendations of the Task Force was for London to look at road tunnelling projects that could transform parts of the city — TFL is now carrying out a detailed piece of work on this.”


A diagram of the possible route that the tunnel may take has been made available, but further details of the plans have yet to be announced, and the Mayor’s office was keen to stress that the proposals were currently at a ‘very early’ stage.

Ms Dedring added: “We are at the very early stage in exploring the potential for new orbital and tunnelled routes, but the Mayor believes that they could help to play a key role in supporting London’s growth. Other cities around the world such as Paris, Oslo and Boston have undertaken these kinds of ambitious projects and have seen dramatic results.

“As London plans for the future, the Mayor thinks we should take inspiration from such examples of innovative urban planning. This project is not about creating a motorway through the centre of London. It’s about freeing up capacity on the city surface, improving air quality and reclaiming space for public parks, pedestrians and cyclists.”


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