Document Supply F74/28469

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Report on roads in tunnel for the Greater London Council by Sir William Halcrow & Partners & Mott, Hay & Anderson, Joint Consulting Engineers

Date range1974
LocationBritish Library (see all files stored here)


In the early 1970s it was becoming clear to the Greater London Council that its proposals for a network of urban motorways were not very popular and stood a very poor chance of being built. Their last roll of the dice was to investigate whether it would be possible to build them underground, instead of at surface level, and thereby provide a similar level of new road capacity without the same level of controversy.

It's not clear whether this report was commissioned by the outgoing Conservative administration or the incoming Labour one, but certainly by the time it was published the GLC was not particularly enthusiastic about building urban motorways at all, regardless of whether they were underground, overground or wombling free.

The report itself is not too long and is really quite readable, with good case studies and clear figures.

Contents of note

  • Case study looking at replacement of the South Circular Road between Clapham and Catford with a new road, on roughly the same line, in tunnel. The route is split into two sections, each of which is designed using a slightly different methodology. The choice of route is interesting as it deliberately does not look at redesigning a Ringway-era proposal.
  • Excellent photograph of the underground junction in the Liverpool Queensway tunnel shortly after completion. The road markings have things like GO and FAST painted on the road.
  • Clear breakdown of costs for roads with similar capacity and interchange facilities if built in an urban area and if built underground.

People with camera copies

None known.