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Finish Ringway 2
Cut-and-cover some South London railways and put an expressway on top
London's ringways scheme devised in the 1960s saw a series of new
enveloping the capital, of which only one loop was ever completed - the M25,
which is a combination of bits of the outermost ringways 3 and 4.
Ringway 2 was planned to go through the suburbs about half-way between the
centre and the farthest reaches of the city, and was successfully built in the
and East, as the North Circular road. However, the South section was never
making any vehicle journey through South London very difficult to this day.
Historically, South London has had many more overground railway lines
compared with North London because the geology made tunnelling difficult.
However, technology has progressed and this isn't much of a problem any
The many miles of existing railway corridors slicing up South London,
with a lack of existing tunnels, gives rise to the possibility of rebuilding some of
the railway lines underground using cheap, shallow cut-and-cover tunnels. A
four-lane (two in each direction) expressway could be built in the 16 - 20
of space freed up on the surface, thus completing ringway 2 with only a few
demolished buildings, instead of the ~6000 that would have been cleared in
Some of the neighbourhoods that the road would pass through are likely to be
habited by influential NIMBYs who do not like the prospect of increased noise
pollution. In such areas, the expressway and railways could swap over, with
road underground and the railway remaining on top. Of course, these
neighbourhoods would have fewer access junctions to the tunnels meaning
would not be well served by the expressway, but as road haters I don't
they would mind.
Unfinished London Episode 2
Short documentary about London's unfinished ringways [idris83, Mar 19 2011]
Google Maps ringways overlay
A Google Maps overlay showing all of the motorways proposed in the 1960s [idris83, Mar 19 2011]
The South Circular - reborn
A Google Maps overlay I made showing where the new expressway might be built [idris83, Mar 19 2011]
||Nah, I was thinking they could build a new airport south of the river and have
some Boeing C-17s shuttling cars back and forth between it and City Airport.
||// shuttling cars back and forth //
||Did anyone mention a trebuchet ?
||A trebuchet and castle wall on the opposite bank to catch the vehicles would
be more efficient I suppose.
||More sensibly, the Woolwich Ferry could be replaced with another ferry which
is 308 metres long. That way it wouldn't have to shuttle back and forth, but
could just sit in the river and cars could drive on one side and off the other. In
order to avoid inconvenience to boats wanting to pass, a new Woolwich Land
Ferry could be introduced to shuttle boats on the back of a lorry around the
obstruction, or alternatively the river ferry could be a hovercraft thus allowing
river traffic to pass beneath its skirt.
||How about a Woolwich Tunnel that the Thames could flow through (East - West), complete with boats ? The syphon effect would ensure that the river levels on each side were maintained.
||Obviously, the Woolwich flood barrier might get in the way, but that would be easy to demolish.
||If only the great fire happened now rather than all so many years ago. Lots of room for roads if there were no houses at all...
||There's plenty of room. They just need to move the railways underground.
||//beginning stub of a bridge// Or the runway of a proposed vehicle railgun/slingshot?