Council Attacks TfL over Flyover Congestion

Calls on transport body to redouble efforts on traffic flow and information

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Hounslow Council has attacked Transport for London (TfL) over its handling of the Hammersmith Flyover problem, and called on the transport body to redouble its efforts to deal with traffic congestion.

In a hard-hitting statement, the Council criticised TfL for poor communications on the issue and said the part-reopening of the flyover made no improvement to congestion in the area, particularly to Chiswick town centre.

The Council has called on TfL to redouble its efforts to deal with the “significant negative effects” of the problems which it says is affecting everyone who lives and works in the area.

The flyover reopened to light traffic on 13 January but the Council says it has achieved no reduction in peak-hour congestion in the surrounding area, leading to continuing gridlocked traffic in many parts of the road network.

A statement from the Council said that in order to assist TfL to manage the effects of the closure of the flyover, the Council converted all its bus lanes on Chiswick High Road to 24 hours and introduced new waiting and loading restrictions including Sunday controls along other stretches of the High Road in early January.  Following the part-reopening of the flyover, the 24 hour bus lanes have been scaled back to 7am-7pm each day.

“However, the council believes that TfL has failed to engage with its officers and to fully communicate the situation to residents, leading to confusion and further congestion as drivers have returned to the area expecting delays to have ceased.  Heavy goods vehicles and passenger coaches are using Chiswick High Road, as they are not allowed onto the flyover”.

 Councillor Corinna Smart, Hounslow Council’s cabinet member for environment said: “There has been a severe effect of the closure of the flyover on roads in the London Borough of Hounslow and TfL have not listened to our concerns.

“Almost immediately after the flyover reopened, significant volumes of eastbound traffic began to divert from the A4 onto the A315 Chiswick High Road in search of a faster alternative route into central London. Indeed, TfL statistics actually show that the situation has not improved, and may even have worsened since the flyover reopened.

“This diverted through-traffic has caused very significant delays to local traffic, buses and goods servicing, and has negatively affected the local air quality in the Chiswick town centre.

“It seems that, immediately following the part-reopening of the flyover, TfL’s media policy has been to downplay the effect of the remaining congestion. TfL has not taken the opportunity to promote the Underground, Overground, or South West Trains as an alternative to the use of cars to travel between west and central London, nor walking or cycling for shorter journeys in the area. This hardly suggests a joined-up, multi-modal approach to addressing the congestion problem.

“I call on TfL to redouble its efforts to deal with the significant negative effects of the problems at the Hammersmith flyover on the Borough’s roads and ease the situation, as it is affecting everyone who lives and works in the area.”

February 10, 2012