Plans to grade-separate the remaining sections of the North Circular with flat junctions - Henlys Corner, Bounds Green & Golders Green Rd - have been dropped in favour of smaller improvement schemes.
Houses around Henlys Corner were demolished many years ago to make way for a grade-separation scheme to eliminate this bottleneck. Similarly, many houses along the single carriageway section at Bounds Green have been compulsarily purchased and are currently being used to house council tenants.
The original schemes involved complete grade-separation at these locations using flyovers or tunnels, resulting in a fully grade-separated 6-lane route between Hangar Lane in West London and Barking in the east.
However, the current Mayor has decided to drop the large-scale schemes which were deemed too expensive (the tunnel scheme at Henlys Corner in particular) - with a total cost of £900m.
In the recent £10bn TfL 5-year spending plan, the Mayor announced £24m of smaller improvements to the environment around the North Circular in these areas to improve pedestrian access and safety. However, the local authorities think the scheme is too small-scale to relieve A406 congestion and therefore it is likely to go to a Public Inquiry. Additionally, TfL have delayed the project so that it doesn't coincide with major roadworks to refurbish the Holmesdale Tunnel on the M25.
At Bounds Green, the current 2-lane eastbound / 1-lane westbound road will be improved to two lanes in each direction. This scheme has now been approved and will be in place by 2009.
Cycle paths will be installed alongside the route between Bounds Green Road and Green Lanes; the Telford Road section between Bounds Green Road and Wilmer Way will be landscaped.
Bus priority lanes will be installed leading up to traffic lights eastbound along Bowes Road approaching Wilmer Way/Telford Rd, eastbound approaching the Green Lanes crossroads, and westbound approaching the same crossroads. These priority lanes should help routes 34, 102, 184 and 232.
A number of side roads will be closed at their North Circular entrances, with many others restricted to left-turn-in and left-turn-out only. Roads that can only be accessed from the North Circular (Milton Grove, Maidstone Road) will be restricted to no-right-turn out.
The main junctions along the route at Bounds Green Road, Wilmer Way, Brownlow Road and Green Lanes will have their signalling altered to incorporate full pedestrian crossing facilities and to ease congestion.
This scheme, which is awaiting public consultation, involves creation of a new cycle path through the green area to the south of the junction which would be landscaped (this area was originally acquired for the larger improvement scheme).
Pedestrian footbridges over the road will be replaced with pedestrian crossings at the junctions.
Right-turn lanes will be installed with their own traffic light phases; this is to reduce accidents where right-turning traffic collides with traffic going straight on.
In addition, a bus priority lane will be installed for buses leaving the junction via Falloden Way (route 102).
This was an £150 million project along the section between the ECML railway overbridge just west of Bounds Green Road, to just east of Green Lanes. The improved road would have been dual 3 lane (reduced to dual 2 lane in underpasses).
Slip roads would have served the Bounds Green Lane junction, which the North Circular will pass underneath. At the Bowes Road / Telford Road junction, the dual carriageway would have cut across the southern corner from Telford Way to the eastern Bowes Road; slip roads would have provided access between the A1110 Bowes Road and B1452 Wilmer Way, to and from both directions of the North Circular.
The worth of the improvements proposed for the A406 has been questioned with the release under the Freedom of Information Act of a report that says a similar proposed scheme did not present value for money.
TfL's have announced that their £27 North Circular improvement programme will mean that improvements at Golders Green will be ready by spring 2008.
Many homes currently owned by TfL in Bounds Green, inherited from compulsary purchases by the Conservative government when it was planning a large-scale grade separation scheme for the North Circular, will be demolished to make way for the smaller-scale improvement scheme proposed by TfL.
A £27m scheme to create a dual carriageway at Bounds Green was approved by TfL. The move follows 40 years of uncertainty over a government scheme to create a flyover at this junction which was scrapped some years ago. The new scheme is smaller in scale and includes improvements for buses, pedestrians and cyclists.
20-year-old plans to widen and grade-separate the North Circular at the key remaining single-carriageway points have been dropped due to the £900m cost, in favour of a smaller £20m environmental improvement scheme with 2 lanes in each direction.
TfL commissioner Bob Kiley has stated that the Treasury's recent funding decision for London means that the large scheme to improve the A406 North Circular at Henleys Corner and New Southgate is unlikely to proceed, and will probably be replaced by a smaller scheme.
Representatives from Enfield, Haringey, Barnet and Waltham Forest councils met with transport minister Tony McNulty last week to discuss funding from central government for the A406 widening and grade separation scheme between Bounds Green and Green Lanes. The councils see the scheme as particularly important given both the Olympic bid, and that the Mayor's London Plan foresees 47,000 new homes in north London.
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