The Mayor of London commissions Transport for London to work up plans for a 22-mile underground ring to ease congestion in the capital

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has commissioned Transport for London to work up plans for a 22-mile underground ring road to alleviate traffic congestion in the capital.

According to a report in the Evening Standard, the project, called the Inner Orbital Route, would cost £30bn and create two new crossings beneath the Thames, as well as linking to key overland roads including the A40 in the west, the A12 in the east, the A1 in the north and the A2 in the south. Tower Bridge would be closed to all traffic except buses and bicycles.

Transport for London forecasts a 60% increase in congestion in the central zone by 2031 if nothing is done, while outer areas would suffer increases in congestion of 15% to 25%.

The proposed route links Camden, Highbury, Whitechapel, Wapping, Elephant and Castle, Oval, Battersea Park, Chelsea, Earls Court, White City and St John’s Wood, before returning to Camden.

A spur under Dalston and Hackney would connect the circuit to the A12.

Isabel Dedring, deputy mayor for transport, told the Evening Standard: “We are at the very early stage in exploring the potential. Cities such as Paris, Oslo and Boston have undertaken these kinds of ambitious projects and have seen dramatic results.

“This 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.”