Holloway Road closure: Town hall bans lorries from Tufnell Park Road

The major commuter road is closed until early next year. Picture: Polly Hancock

The major commuter road is closed until early next year. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Lorries are set to be banned from using Tufnell Park Road in response to the utter chaos brought on by the last-minute closure of Holloway Road.

Gridlocked buses in Tufnell Park Road this afternoon were forced to turn off their engines and wait

Gridlocked buses in Tufnell Park Road this afternoon were forced to turn off their engines and wait for the collision ahead to clear - as the entire diverted A1 piled up behind them. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Commuters say it has taken them half-an-hour to get from one end to the other this week, while it was in complete gridlock for six hours on Wednesday after a van and a bus crashed.

Islington Council has now enforced significant traffic orders to try and ease pressure on the residential road.

It has predictably buckled under the strain of being the main diversion route for the A1’s traffic since it closed on Friday night for emergency work to the Upper Holloway bridge.

The new traffic orders will come into effect this weekend. Lorries will now be directed down Brecknock Road to the junction with Camden Road and TfL staff will be around to hand out tickets to disobedient drivers.

Wednesday’s low-speed collision also left a backlog of 30 buses stuck in the road, and the Gazette understands TfL will also look to stop some routes travelling along it.

The plans will be music to the ears of all involved, not least the town hall, which earlier this week promised to do all it could to hold TfL to account.

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Islington’s transport chief Cllr Claudia Webbe said: “While there is no doubt TfL got this disastrously wrong with such a short-notice closure of this major road, we have been pushing them hard ever since to get this next stage right.

“The prospect of funnelling the A1 through a residential street like Tufnell Park Road is unacceptable, so we have insisted on alternative diversions and signs advising motorists from outer London and beyond to avoid the area altogether.”

Drivers on the M25, M1 and M40 as far north as Birmingham are being told to avoid Islington if possible.

Cllr Webbe added the council was still looking to make TfL keep road space for cyclists and ensure emergency services could get to buildings within the 100-metre vehicle exclusion zone at the bridge.

She added: “We should not underestimate the huge impact that this three-month closure will have – not just on Islington but the whole of London.”

The closure caused uproar when it was announced less than a fortnight before coming into effect.

Workers have been preparing to replace the Upper Holloway bridge since 2014 but encountered problems when transferring underground pipes and cables to a new utilities bridge, forcing them to shut the road.

The bridge will be replaced over Christmas so the Gospel Oak to Barking London Overground line can be electrified – a project that has already closed the station until February.

The road will be shut to all southbound traffic until January 16. It will be closed northbound until October 31; over the weekends of November 18 to 21; November 25 to 28; and from Christmas Eve until January 16. A journey planner has been created here.

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