Last week l was at Hammersmith Town Hall for an exhibition of the proposed tunnel to replace the Hammersmith flyover. This brochure illustrates well the tunnel vision derived from a collection of architectural practises in Hammersmith with contributions from the Halcrow Group & the local Business Improvement District (BID).
Interestingly the tunnelling will begin from the West in Chiswick, Hounslow (after the Hogarth roundabout). So Hounslow Council clearly need to take a view on the matter. I’m pretty sure the residents of Chiswick will have their own views as well. It will end East of the Hammersmith flyover in Earls Court, which falls in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, so clearly residents and the council there will also need to have a say. A major bonus is that it would open up the Thames again to residents of both Hammersmith & Chiswick, though this will need to be reflected in some way in any feasibility study undertaken as well as unlocking a substantial amount of land above the tunnel itself.
Once feasibility is actually undertaken by Hammersmith & Fulham council, l would like to see a session of the Transport Committee at the London Assembly examine the “Tunnel Vision for West London.” The plans will have implications for not just the replacement of the Hammersmith flyover but also the Westway in Paddington & North Kensington as well as the elevated M4 in Brentford. This will be the case even more if the effect of Cross rail, once operational, is to take off the road, traffic along the A4 & M4 particularly from Heathrow.
Sadly in the history of building transport infrastructure in London, West London during the 1950 & 60’s got lumbered with a number of flyovers and elevated highways dividing communities geographically, such as the ones in Paddington & Brentford built when other parts of London were saved from this fate! You can blame the cross party consensus in the GLC for this.
But, finally, what’s most relevant is what the Mayor thinks of all of this? I have asked him before and had this response. I thought it was rather a cold and bureaucratic reply. Methinks it is time to ask him again and try and get him to feel more enthusiastic about it all.