Underground Toll Tunnels: A Good Idea?

Remember watching Back to the Future for the first time? Even if you managed to catch it on TV over Christmas, the movie said that 2015 would be the year that there would be flying cars, hover boards and pizza that cooked in seconds. Ok so one out of three isn’t bad going. But back to the flying cars…If London Mayor Boris Johnson has things his way, we could all soon be driving underground! 

Forget the wind in your hair and the open road, how about getting around in London through a series of underground tunnels? This would naturally offer us a whole new experience, but an ‘environmentally friendly one’ according to Boris. The ground below the city could be taken up by an underground network if the mayors plans go ahead.

So where has all this come from? It was during a trip to Boston, USA that these new ideas came about. Here the London Mayor first spoke of plans to redesign the city’s key road networks. But here’s the catch, although main roads could be moved underground, there would also likely be many more toll booths scattered through the new network. We have tolls now, but they seem to be few and far between. Most of our roads are currently free to travel on.

The changes could start with a series of what will be known as ‘fly-unders’ at the A3 in Tolworth,  A4 in Hammersmith,  the A316 at Chalkers Corner, A406 in New Southgate and A13 in Barking Riverside. Pretty major roads that will undoubtedly have a huge impact if the changes do go ahead.

The idea to take our roads underground has been compared to the similar scheme currently operating in Boston. Mr Johnson claims that the air quality would improve as a result. He also says that there will be plenty more land opened up for redevelopment into parks and much needed housing.

Johnson is quoted as saying : “It’s the sort of thing we can do in Hammersmith where the A4 is a very old mouldering flyover, which we could take underground, releasing a huge amount of land that could be turned into a park, several parks, and other amenities, plus releasing a lot of land for housing…You could use some of the proceeds from that housing to pay for it and you would probably also have to look at tolling as well.”

If given the green light, these changes will naturally take a few years to complete, perhaps even decades to fully be realised, so there is no need to worry about these plans just yet. However, the idea of introducing more tolls on the roads could be a worry to motorists, especially those on a budget. Just how much will we be expected to fork out? Will some journeys be more ‘expensive’ than others? Will there be financial assistance for those struggling with higher tolls than others? It’s clear that these plans do need thinking out properly before they get the go ahead.

What do you think about driving underground with more tolls on the roads? Let Want Driving Lessons know!   

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