Early Morning London Roadtrip

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Chris5156
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Early Morning London Roadtrip

Postby Chris5156 » Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:12

Just been out for a spin, and thought I'd post a few thoughts while the memory was still fresh! I got up at 5 (meant to be earlier, but needed the sleep) and set off at 6am to avoid all that dull traffic that usually clogs up the streets.

In to London on A316 and A4, through the Hyde Park Corner underpass - incredibly narrow inside! - along Piccadilly to the Circus. I then got a bit lost in the back streets, thinking I'd pick my way through to Covent Garden, but there were a number of road closures there for various works and no matter what I tried, I kept being dumped back on Shaftesbury Avenue behind the Trocadero.

I was prepared for the incredible number of bin lorries - one per street, I think - but I didn't think the cabbies would be so desperate to get moving even when there's nobody else around. You had to be quick off the mark on a green light if there was a taxi behind, which I would expect during the day, but took me by surprise at 6.30 on a Sunday!

So I gave up on that and went down to Trafalgar Square, along the Strand, looped Aldwych, and then did Waterloo Bridge both ways so I could bag the Aldwych Underpass. That one is also great fun - with an incredibly steep drop from the bridge deck, then two sharp corners connected by a shallower sweeping curve that follows the line of Aldwych. The rise back out to Kingsway isn't quite as steep, but still needs a gear change to avoid losing speed.

By this point it was very obvious that preparations were under way to close off roads for the 10k charity run today, so I went down Strand ignoring a range of "Road Closed" signs in the hope that the signs were out but the road wasn't closed yet - and thankfully it wasn't.

From there, a left turn into Whitehall, which really was completely deserted. It's very big and open, but speeding down there seemed rather vulgar, and stately progress at 30mph seemed like the more refined thing to do.

I did a full circuit of Parliament Square - nicely proportioned for a roundabout! Then on to the Embankment and out on Upper Thames Street, Limehouse Link Tunnel and the A13. There is some incredible engineering on this road, so I tried to be optimistic about the heavily-enforced 30s and 40s because they gave me a chance to see it in detail as I crawled past on an empty road. An incredible drive but ultimately not very satisfying.

Then I turned down the A1020 and had a look at the ski-jump for the East London River Crossing - the stub end is S4, designed so the outer lanes would free-flow to the A1020 and the middle two would continue down to the roundabout at the end. The looped on-slip has been closed up for some time, by the look of it, with heavy concrete blocks, and is quite overgrown - though I understand it was open for a while.

From there it was Barking Relief Road, A12 Eastern Avenue and the East Cross Route. The Blackwall Tunnel had been closed overnight and I came through about three minutes after it re-opened at 8am. Then through Eltham on the A2, after which there is no way off for miles! The first exit was closed for installation of new barriers, so I had a journey of several miles. Grrr.

Then it was quite clearly home time, so being in my dad's car, I decided to roll the dice and see where his satnav took me to go home, and it was a route I'd never have considered: A20, A2 and then A202 through Lewisham and Peckham, up to Stockwell, then A3 and A205. It wasn't bad, but I imagine that was only because it was still early on a Sunday morning.

Next week: more of the same, with an earlier start!
Chris
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Postby Bryn666 » Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:36

Sounds like a quite good drive that one!

I did central London at 9am on a Sunday when I was there in March, it's eerie how the roads are so deserted. However, by 10:30am the queue along the A4 citybound was a sight to behold.

At least Strand Underpass was open this time! Everytime I've been near it's shut for something or other. :x
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Postby Chris5156 » Sun Jul 06, 2008 13:00

No traffic problems at all, until I was nearly home and the South Circular was solid from Barnes onwards. But that was OK - within a mile and a half of home, so I just came off straight away and used the back streets (and an obscure level crossing or two).
Chris
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Postby Bryn666 » Sun Jul 06, 2008 13:03

Well no surprises there with the A205, that road is definately in the same in-tray as the "Hogarth GSJ improvement" as discussed yesterday :wink:
Bryn
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Re: Early Morning London Roadtrip

Postby Sunil_of_Yoxley » Thu Jul 10, 2008 18:06

Chris5156 wrote:Then I turned down the A1020 and had a look at the ski-jump for the East London River Crossing - the stub end is S4, designed so the outer lanes would free-flow to the A1020 and the middle two would continue down to the roundabout at the end. The looped on-slip has been closed up for some time, by the look of it, with heavy concrete blocks, and is quite overgrown - though I understand it was open for a while.


I took a pic a couple of weeks ago albeit from a distance, to be uploaded soon! Don't recall the on-slip being open.
My London railway station photos on Wikimedia Commons

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Re: Early Morning London Roadtrip

Postby Chris5156 » Thu Jul 10, 2008 19:03

Sunil_of_Yoxley wrote:
Chris5156 wrote:Then I turned down the A1020 and had a look at the ski-jump for the East London River Crossing - the stub end is S4, designed so the outer lanes would free-flow to the A1020 and the middle two would continue down to the roundabout at the end. The looped on-slip has been closed up for some time, by the look of it, with heavy concrete blocks, and is quite overgrown - though I understand it was open for a while.


I took a pic a couple of weeks ago albeit from a distance, to be uploaded soon! Don't recall the on-slip being open.


Not a few weeks ago, no - by the look of it, the last traffic to use it must have been years ago. But I'm sure it was open at one time because the road is laid out for it, complete with temporary traffic islands built to allow the right-turn from the 'wrong' direction.

I shot some film and took a couple of (camera phone) pictures when I was there:

Beckton.mov (5.1 Mb, Quicktime format)

Looking at the stub:
Image
You can see it would have been S4, which is pretty impressive considering this would just have been the local access road to the East London River Crossing. It would also have to travel quite a long way east to get to the bridge itself, possibly all elevated like this. The left hand lane would have just been gained from the A1020 southbound exit slip, which is now the only one open.

Looking at the overbridge:
Image
There are three lanes over the bridge (which is obviously meant to be a bit of a landmark) - two westbound, heading away from the camera, and one eastbound, coming towards. The left-hand lane exits on to the now closed loop towards the northbound A1020. The right hand two lanes continue down to the roundabout to access a housing estate.

However, temporary traffic management means the right lane stops at a traffic island where oncoming traffic used to be forced to make a right turn in to the loop sliproad. This is now all closed with concrete blocks.
Chris
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Nic
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Postby Nic » Thu Jul 10, 2008 19:29

Sometimes, I pay no attention to anything.

I never knew there was a stub for an East London River Crossing (here) so, its nice to find something I didn't really know about.

Is there any evidence of its touch down on the south bank?
Nic

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Postby Chris5156 » Thu Jul 10, 2008 20:09

Nic_A47 wrote:Sometimes, I pay no attention to anything.

I never knew there was a stub for an East London River Crossing (here) so, its nice to find something I didn't really know about.

Is there any evidence of its touch down on the south bank?


The great part is that this isn't even the mainline of the ELRC - just a local access. Follow the A1020 north and you'll see the A13/A406 roundabout is laid out for a north-south flyover which would be the main route on to the ELRC.

To the south, there's a bit of a gap near Thamesmead where it would land, but no road stubs.
Chris
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Postby Sunil_of_Yoxley » Sun Jul 13, 2008 02:45

Oh you took some pics Chris! Cool, nice ones! Well here are my long distance shots FWIW:

Image

Image

Viewed from Gallions Reach DLR station.
My London railway station photos on Wikimedia Commons

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Postby Chris5156 » Sun Jul 13, 2008 10:34

Another trip out this morning - at 5am the Kingston Bypass is very enjoyable!

Went out to Esher and back in so I could film the Kingston Bypass inbound - I had forgotten that this would mean going towards the low sun. Not sure if that footage has come out or not because I haven't checked it yet.

From there, continued in to London on the A3, going over Wandsworth Bridge, up the King's Road, then up A3220 and in on Westway. Pootled about in London for a bit, down Southampton Row and round Aldwych, through the back streets of Covent Garden, then down Whitehall, along the Embankment and in to the City. I can't remember where exactly I went in the City - it was more a case of taking whichever turns took my fancy - but I definitely passed through Bank. Twice.

Out through the Limehouse Link Tunnel, taking the midway exit, turning right and being surprised to find a roundabout at Canary Wharf that lies entirely underground. Brilliantly 80s. Then stumbled on the famous traffic light sculpture. From there I went in search of Silvertown Way, an elevated road built in the 1930s which is - sadly - updated out of all recognition. The shape and alignment of the road suggest 30s arterial road, but it all looks very 80s these days, and the space underneath has been filled with offices and industrial units.

A few tunnels next, through Rotherhithe, then back along the A200 to do Blackwall northbound. Then home via Limehouse Link, Embankment, Hyde Park Corner underpass, Kensington High Street.

Home by 9.30 for a bacon butty. Brilliant morning.
Chris
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Postby Bryn666 » Sun Jul 13, 2008 13:12

Out through the Limehouse Link Tunnel, taking the midway exit, turning right and being surprised to find a roundabout at Canary Wharf that lies entirely underground. Brilliantly 80s. Then stumbled on the famous traffic light sculpture. From there I went in search of Silvertown Way, an elevated road built in the 1930s which is - sadly - updated out of all recognition. The shape and alignment of the road suggest 30s arterial road, but it all looks very 80s these days, and the space underneath has been filled with offices and industrial units.


Ah yes, Westferry Circus, where we got 'photographically repressed' in March!

Silvertown Way seems to have been completely demolished and rebuilt looking at my older A-Z's of London, I'm sure it was a twistier road in the older maps.

EDIT: Actually it was a seperate road just south of the viaduct that appears to have vanished - presumably under the Lower Lea Crossing:
http://www.abandonedcommunities.co.uk/Map19351.JPG

Nice stub pictures too!
Bryn
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She said life was like a motorway; dull, grey, and long.

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