It’s now clear that a new tunnel at Silvertown feeding onto Greenwich borough’s creaking road network will cause existing queues to get worse according to TfL’s reports into the project. We see five mile queues daily on the A2 as it is.
Even TfL accept that and they’re the project’s main supporter and backer. So then, the obvious question is what will be done?
If we go back throughout road building schemes the familiar story is subsequent widening of more roads as extra traffic arrives and demolition alongside. Urban blight and poor public realm generally follow. And more traffic will arrive; between 4pm and 6pm a rise from 3,500 vehicles to 5,000 an hour.
If we already have daily five mile jams from Falconwood through Eltham, Kidbrooke, Blackheath and then reaching Greenwich, plans are likely to be afoot to widen some roads to deal with this increase. But where?
TfL traffic modelling suggest worse queues along the A2. It won’t be easy to widen as much is in deep cuttings and beside railway lines – especially in Eltham.
Kidbrooke though is the main area we could see change. There’s no grade separation at Kidbrooke Junction and traffic will increase regardless of Silvertown as more than 5,200 homes are built at Kidbrooke Village. Many are still to be built or occupied.
TfL want another to build another 600 on top, and Greenwich planning strategy sees more just north west of that.
A flyover would seem plausible at Kidbrooke – and this view below would be where we would see the road rising.
Though they’ll need to be quick as thousands of residents are moving in soon and won’t take kindly to it. And it’ll be ugly. Think of the flyover in Greenwich for a foretaste.
Not great for new residents heading to shops such as the Aldi which are now being built – though getting around on-foot is already poor.
There’s the possibility of widening to three lanes in parts of Eltham. Perhaps issuing Compulsory Purchase Orders on some housing may be needed.
This may come across as scaremongering but realistically how does 30 per cent more traffic enter a road network already at capacity each afternoon without this happening?
Yes, it will just fill up in time but major road projects almost inevitably sees this happen.
The thing is, have supporters of this scheme ever considered further areas of widening? Possibly not. They’ve been resolutely quiet on extra southbound traffic and only focused on alleviating northbound. But further road widening is the likely result of adding more traffic on the stretch towards Kent.
It’s why it always seemed so baffling of those politicians supporting in Eltham. Did they really not consider what would happen down the line?
Since plans were first mooted for the tunnel, large schemes have been expanded or widened in scope. Kidbrooke Village has seen thousands more homes added above and beyond original projections.
Greenwich Peninsula has seen the same – with another 1,800 unveiled by Knight Dragon this year and the same at Morden Wharf.
Charlton Riverside will see another 7,500 new homes.
Much of that wasn’t even included in original traffic projections which see a 30 per cent increase in southbound traffic according to TfL. There’s also vast lorry park plans now cropping up:
To think subsequent road widening and demolition along the A2 and other areas will not occur in coming years seems optimistic. Some may say foolish.
Politicians who have supported the tunnel can’t then plead ignorance when extra queues, disruption and road widening schemes come up.