Category Archives: Transport

Mayor of London unveils plans for three new Thames river crossings

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Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has unveiled plans for three new Thames river crossings in East London.

After reviewing predecessor Boris Johnson’s plans, Mr Khan outlined plans for the new river crossings to be constructed in the next five to ten years in East London.

Mr Khan claims the move will ease congestion and cut pollution in the capital.

The plans include the fast tracking of a new pedestrian and cycle bridge linking Rotherhithe & Canary Wharf.

A Docklands Light Railway (DLR) crossing at Gallions Reach is also proposed to support the development of around 17,000 new homes across Newham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Further assessment work will be undertaken for a Barking Riverside-Abbey Wood London Overground crossing and a North Greenwich-Isle of Dogs ferry, supporting new development on the Greenwich Peninsula and the Isle of Dogs.

The plans also include the controversial Silvertown tunnel, which had been criticised previously for incurring a user charge by Mr Khan claiming it was “a tax on East and South East Londoners’.

The plans for the tunnel have been “enhanced” to encourage people to use public transport and include a low-emission bus zone and a cycle bus that will transport cyclists through the tunnel.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It’s no secret that London has long needed more river crossings in the east. With new homes and economic growth across East London, it becomes even more important that we deliver new greener transport links that allow Londoners to cross the river quickly and more easily.

“But we don’t want these to have a damaging impact on our environment, and that’s why I’ve reviewed and improved plans for Silvertown Tunnel and why I’m pushing forward with crossings that encourage public transport, walking and cycling.

“As we continue to unlock the massive economic potential of East London, we must secure the very best transport infrastructure that improves the quality of life for everyone living and working in the area.”

Alex Williams, Acting Managing Director of Planning at TfL, said London’s expanding population meant it was “vital” to support the plans. He commented: “The Mayor’s new vision for river crossings in East London is firmly rooted in supporting growth and providing better public transport links for all.

“We will now work hard to develop the designs for these new crossings, as well as identify potential funding opportunities, to allow them to be constructed more quickly.”

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Are Smart Motorways Safe?

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An AA poll shows 8 out of 10 drivers think removal of hard shoulder for Smart Motorway makes motorway more dangerous.

According to an AA Populus poll of 20,845 drivers, eight out of 10 drivers believe that in comparison to four years ago, they feel the Smart Motorways have made motorways more dangerous, with some describing emergency lay-bys as “death zones”.

Guidance from Highways England says stopping places are to be no more than 1.6 miles apart on motorways where the hard shoulder can be opened to traffic during busy periods, but the AA have said drivers have made it “abundantly clear” that they feel this is insufficient.

Drivers feel that this is not enough to avoid broken down vehicles being forced to stop in live running lanes, with the danger of being hit from behind.

When asked by AA to describe their thoughts on the lay-bys, phrases such as “death zones”, “foolish planners’ promised land” and “desperate unreachable havens” were used.

The motoring company have said that they would like to see twice as many lay-bys and they should be twice the length.

Officials have been keen to press ahead with smart motorway projects, which are already in operation on sections of the M42, M1, M6, M4 and M5.

Highways England say Smart Motorways tackle congestion, which costs an estimated £2Bn every year, with 25% of this resulting from incidents.

Analysis gathered by Highways England since the opening of Smart Motorways shows a 22% increase in journey reliability, a reduction in personal injury accidents by more than half, and where accidents did occur, severity was much lower overall with zero fatalities and few seriously injured.

Proposed site for Operation Stack lorry area announced

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Transport Secretary has announced proposed site for Operation Stack lorry area to be created near Stanford in Kent.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced that a new lorry area will be created near Stanford in Kent, to ease issues caused by Operation Stack and provide a long term solution to problems on the M20 and surrounding roads.

The new lorry area will help keep the M20 moving during cross-channel services, avoiding the level of disruption that comes with Operation Stack, which has caused issues for companies and other drivers and residents.

Operation Stack was used on a record 32 days last year as the area was hit with unprecedented disruption in the summer, which was followed by the Autumn Statement, in which the government announced it would be providing up to £250M for a permanent lorry area.

Lorry_area2.jpgChancellor George Osborne said: “We are taking bold action to deal with the severe inconvenience suffered by people living and working in Kent when cross-channel services are affected.

“A long-term solution that will keep traffic moving has been talked about for decades, but now we are delivering it. I look forward to construction starting as soon as possible.

Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “Operation Stack is only ever used as a last resort but we recognise the impact it has on roads in Kent, and are determined to deliver an alternative solution.

“The new lorry area by the M20 will deliver better journeys for drivers and will not only support the region’s economy but also businesses as far away as Scotland that rely on the M20 to access the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel.

“We have committed up to £250 million for the lorry area and we are now making it a reality.”

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A total of 3,600 lorries will be able to park in the area, with the government looking at the idea of overnight parking to prevent drivers parking in unsuitable or illegal positions.

Balfour Beatty have been appointed as lead contractor for the project, which is west of the M20 junction 11 at Stanford West.

New entry and exit slip roads will be built on the eastbound carriageway, providing direct access to the lorry park.

Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England Chief Executive said: “The Secretary of State has asked us to progress a lorry area between Sellindge and Stanford. Direct access from the M20 means less lorries using local roads.

“We will work closely with residents and local stakeholders to ensure the design of the new lorry area minimises its social and environmental impact, while meeting the wider need to address this issue for Kent and the UK.”

Written responses were provided by 1,300 people, along with more than 1,000 drivers, residents and workers attending eight public events during the consultation on the lorry park.

The majority of people supported the idea, with less than a quarter thinking that Operation Stack should continue in its current form. The next step with be a consultation on the details and environmental impact the scheme will have.