|From:||Lower Clapton (TQ351853)|
|Distance:||6.9 miles (11.1 km)|
|Meets:||A107, B112, A106, B113, A12, A13, A2203, A206, A2, A207|
|Former Number(s):||B112, B114, A102(M)|
|Old route now:||A12|
|Route outline (key)|
The A102 runs from Lower Clapton in Hackney to Charlton in Greenwich and is perhaps best known for the Blackwall Tunnels. As a route, the A102 plays an important part in the road history of London as it is forms one of the two sections of the London Motorway Box that was actually built (the other being the A40(M) / M41 combination in west London).
Northern Section: Lower Clapton – Poplar
In spite of the grandeur associated with the London motorway box, the A102 has a fairly insignificant start at traffic lights on the A107 Lower Clapton Road. Heading south, you continue straight on to join the A102, or right to continue on the A107. Here the road is single-carriageway and passes through a residential area before bearing left into Homerton High Street. Less than a kilometre later, the A102 turns right into Kenworthy Road towards Hackney Wick. The A102 number disappears as we arrive at the A106 Wick Road one-way system, shortly before we become entangled in the Hackney Wick interchange.
Heading east along Wick Road, we pass under a flyover carrying the A12 northbound carriageway, before we turn right onto the East Cross route (southbound), now known as the A12. In doing so we are joining a former motorway, the A102(M) which went as far as the B142 junction. The road lost its motorway status following the formation of the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the subsequent transfer of all trunk roads except the M1, M4, and M11 to Transport for London.
Between the Hackney Wick interchange and the A13 East India Dock Road, the East Cross Route, formerly the A102 but never a motorway, is now part of the A12. Curiously, the point where the A102 resumes is midway under the A13 underpass rather than at one of the slip road entry points.
South of the A13 the A102 passes through the Blackwall Tunnels. The original Blackwall tunnel was opened in 1897, and the very tight alignment reflects the fact that this was long before anyone had even thought about HGVs, let alone built any. In 1967, the original Blackwall tunnel was converted to one-way operation, carrying only northbound traffic across the Thames, whilst southbound traffic used the new tunnel.
For many years in the morning peak hour a tidal flow system operated through the southbound tunnel, enabling three northbound lanes to operate across the river, with only one southbound lane available. This could not be reversed in the evening peak period as the northbound tunnel is now deemed incapable of taking two-way traffic. Tidal flow was suspended in 2007 following representations from the police.
A ventilation shaft for the Blackwall Tunnel emerges through the roof of the O2 Arena (former Millennium Dome). To the north of the river, over the tunnel portal, you can see the windows of the tunnel control room, which monitors the Rotherhithe as well as the Blackwall Tunnel.
South of the Blackwall Tunnel, the A102 continues as a dual three-lane road. Once beyond the junction with Blackwall Lane (A2203), the road is once again the former A102(M). We continue south to the Sun-in-the-Sands interchange where we transfer seamlessly into the coast-bound A2. Alternatively you can turn off and head back into central London on the westbound A2 or east along the A207 (former A2).