A 22-mile-long underground ring road could be built in central London.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has backed the plans that would remove thousands of cars from the streets above.
The Inner Orbital Tunnel would cost £30 billion to construct and feature dual carriageways linking key routes from the A40 Westway to the A12 in the east, and the A1 route north to the A2 running south.
Air quality would be improved with Tower Bridge closed to all traffic except buses and bicycles. The new tunnel would create two new crossings beneath the Thames.
According to the Evening Standard, the proposed route of the ring road would run from Camden to Highbury, curving south under Whitechapel to cross the Thames at Wapping. It then sweeps south of Elephant and Castle, goes under the Oval and Battersea Park, and crosses the Thames again at Chelsea. From there it heads through Earls Court to link with the A40 near White City, then east to St John’s Wood and under Regent’s Park. A spur under Dalston and Hackney would connect the circuit to the A12.
Transport for London (TfL) 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%.
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.”