|From:||Canning Town (TQ394815)|
|Distance:||11.9 miles (19.2 km)|
|Meets:||A13, A1011, A112, A117, A406, A123, A1153, A1240, A1083, A1112, A125, B1421, B187|
|Former Number(s):||A13, B187|
|Route outline (key)|
The A124 runs eastwards through east London.
Section 1: Canning Town - Barking
The western half of the A124 is Barking Road, the original route of the A13 until the East Ham and Barking By-pass took on that number in 1935. It starts in London's East End at the Canning Town Roundabout, where the A13 has a flyover linking to the upgraded by-pass; the flyover itself was expanded from four to six lanes as part of these works. The A1011 also runs north (to West Ham) and south (Silvertown, North Woolwich) at the junction. To the west, the A13 continues towards the City as the East India Dock Road over the River Lea.
The A124 Barking Road continues roughly eastward through Canning Town, and then Plaistow, where it meets the A112 at the Greengate lights. Continuing eastwards, it passes Upton Park (B167 heading north/south), very close to West Ham United's former stadium, known either as the 'Boleyn Ground', or plain old 'Upton Park', which lies just a few yards to the north. The next major junction is at East Ham, where Barking Road meets the realigned A117 Ron Leighton Way from the north, to the west of the old High Street North. There is a brief multiplex (with the A124 number dominant) until Newham (East Ham) Town Hall, where A117 traffic can turn south down High Street South. Continuing ever eastward, Barking Road then meets the North Circular Road A406 just to the west of the River Roding. Here, there's a roundabout beneath the A406 flyover, along with exits to several large megastores (e.g. Tesco, Halfords). Across the Roding, the A124 becomes London Road, denoting our arrival in Barking.
Section 2: Barking - Dagenham
The A124 used to follow London Road and then Station Parade (past Barking tube/rail station) through Barking Town Centre, but a few years ago (1990), a Northern Relief Road (S2) was built that diverts traffic from a roundabout to the west of the town centre (where A123 traffic from Dagenham multiplexes with the A124) over the District/London-Tilbury-Southend railway, to another roundabout east of the town centre, where the A123 leaves to head north to Ilford, the A124 heading northeastwards as Longbridge Road. By now, we have left the original alignment of the A13, as the A123 takes over the baton south and east of Barking as Ripple Road. London Road, Station Parade and Ripple Road all met in the centre of Barking, though the central sections are now unclassified/pedestrianised.
Longbridge Road runs northeast past Barking Park, Barking Bus Garage, the University of East London Barking campus, and now it turns east and becomes dual at the uncontrolled junction with the B177 Goodmayes Lane, heading north to, well, Goodmayes. The central reservation here is very wide, as it is for Becontree Avenue, and Valence Avenue, both unclassified, and both having junctions with the A124; the former a roundabout, the other lights-controlled; with the A1153 Porters Avenue (also dual) heading south to the A13. The reason for the excessive width is that they were planned to have trams running in between the two carriageways, though as far as I know this wasn't ever implemented.
However, by the Valence Avenue/Porters Avenue junction, Longbridge Road has reverted to single carriageway and is now Wood Lane, which curves to the north and then meets the A1240 Heathway, running south through Dagenham, and eventually to the old A13 (A1306). North of the A1240 junction is the weird Becontree Heath interchange, where the A124 Wood Lane heads east instead of continuing north. The A1083 Green Lane heads west towards Ilford, and the northern branch is actually the A1112 Whalebone Lane (to Chadwell Heath, and eventually Abridge). Once upon a time, Becontree Heath used to be a roundabout, but it's now a crossroads (lights controlled). Wood Lane actually forms a brief multiplex with the A1112, past a bus stand, until a roundabout just to the east, in front of Barking and Dagenham Civic Centre.
Section 3: Dagenham - Upminster
Here the A124 continues east, while the A1112 continues south towards Dagenham East as Rainham Road. Wood Lane becomes Rush Green Road and passes between the first really green areas, Central park to the south, and various golf courses and sports grounds, before entering Rush Green, on the borders of the boroughs of Barking & Dagenham and Havering. A short distance further, the A124 meets the A125 due south of Romford, and this junction used to be its eastern extremity. However, it now extends east, and also the A125 junction is now completely different, with South Street leading northward to Romford town centre declassified and replaced by a slightly more westerly alignment, Rom Valley Way, right beside the River Rom. There is also a one-way system (Roneo Corner) with the southern leg of the A125, Upper Rainham Road. The A124 continues eastward through the leafy suburbs of Hornchurch as Hornchurch Road and then Hornchurch High Street (including a small triangular one-way system with Station Lane, heading south to the District line station).
Hornchurch sort of merges with the neighbouring suburb of Upminster, the A124 becoming Upminster Road going under the District/London-Tilbury-Southend lines at Upminster Bridge station, and then becoming St. Mary's Lane, winding up at an odd crossroads in Upminster (Bell Corner), south of the Upminster station. It's odd because the A124 just simply ends here with nowhere to go! The unclassified Hall Lane runs north past the station, eventually reaching the A127 Southend Arterial; the B1421 heads south as Corbet's Tey Road, heading eventually to North Ockendon, right on the Havering/Essex border; whilst St. Mary's Lane continues eastwards as the B187 out into the countryside, meeting the B186 north of Ockendon, and then adopting that road's number, turning sharply north as Warley Street and making its own way to the A127 and eventually Brentwood!
Originally the A124 started on the A13 in Barking and headed east along its current route to end on the A125 to the south of Romford. In 1935 the A13 was diverted onto the A118 Barking bypass and so the A124 was extended westwards into Plaistow (and has crept further west owing to upgrades to the A13 in the years since.
At the other end, the A124 still ended on the A125 after World War II but by the mid-1950s, presumably linked with the easterly spread of London, it was extended into Upminster along the western section of the B187. The road has always ended on a Class II road here.