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Holloway Road closure: Town hall secures minor victories but commuters unmoved

PUBLISHED: 12:10 24 October 2016 | UPDATED: 14:53 24 October 2016

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

Archant

Islington Council says it has convinced transport bosses to divert traffic away from the north of the borough during the "disastrous" three-month closure of Holloway Road - but motorists remain unimpressed.

The last-minute shutdown came into effect on Friday night and is already heaping misery on commuters, despite the town hall securing some minor victories from Transport for London (TfL).

A shuttle bus will now run so people with disabilities can access the area blocked by the diversion and more buses will be put on the unaffected routes.

TfL have also agreed to ban wide loads from Tufnell Park Road, though drivers don’t appear to know.

The Gazette witnessed gridlock on the residential road during this morning’s rush hour, with two lanes of lorries, vans, buses and cars barely able to scrape past one another.

Both sides of the road were still flanked by parked cars and cyclists had been forced onto the pavement at several crunch points.

Some people took to Twitter to complain about the use of Tufnell Park Road to absorb so much diverted traffic.

One user said it took 25 minutes to pass through, while TfL themselves admitted the road, along with Junction Road and Brecknock Road, was “very busy”.

Islington’s transport boss Cllr Claudia Webbe said the council would not let up in its fight to make the closure bearable.

She 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.

“I am pleased TfL has listened to us and quickly taken steps to help minimise some of the damaging effects of this unavoidable closure.

“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.

Rush hour traffic on Upper Holloway bridge before the closure. Picture: Polly HancockRush hour traffic on Upper Holloway bridge before the closure. Picture: Polly Hancock

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 from October 21 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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