London’s deputy mayor for transport Isabel Dedring has confirmed that feasibility studies for a tunnelled inner ring road solution is still being considered as a solution to the city’s congestion issues.
The mayor’s office issued a statement on the initiative following a news story on the plan in today’s Evening Standard. Nonetheless, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said that official publication of the report - and any decisions resulting from it - “is still many months away”.
Dedring added: “The mayor’s independent Roads Task Force [which was launched in 2012] has created a strategic direction for London’s roads, designed to tackle congestion and improve quality of life in London. One 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.
“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.”
TfL managing director of planning Michele Dix added: “With 1.6M more people forecast in London by 2031, TfL also needs to consider whether creating new spaces could help support walking, cycling, road-based public transport and freight, while keeping London moving. As part of our response to the mayor’s Roads Task Force, we committed to carrying out a number of strategic studies to understand the opportunities for roofing over or tunnelling under existing infrastructure at particular locations.
“An inner orbital tunnel could help relieve longer term congestion and support growth. We have now begun initial work to assess what options would be feasible and affordable, with a view to complete this work by the end of the year, as originally set out in the Roads Task Force Report.”