George Osborne has confirmed his support for Transport for London (TfL) proposals to replace the Hammersmith Flyover with a Flyunder in his recent chancellor’s budget.
Osborne invited TfL to accelerate its “proposals for financing infrastructure projects from land value increases,” which in turn could enable projects like “flyunder tunnels to replace busy main roads.” The Chancellor specifically named Hammersmith as an example which would benefit from a flyunder tunnel.
He added that “the government is also supporting TfL to generate revenue from its property assets including by consulting on reforms to compulsory purchase orders.”
In a letter to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, Hammersmith and Fulham council leader, Stephen Cowan, has asked for definitive guidance on the future of the project. This follows Johnson’s previous refusal that drivers would be charged £2 to use the tunnel.
Hammersmith and Fulham MP, Andy Slaughter welcomed the project saying that he strongly supports the Flyunder, adding that he hopes to be working with Sadiq Khan after the mayor Election to take the project forward.
Mayoral Candidate Zac Goldsmith has reportedly already announced his support for the scheme and the Chancellor’s announcement in the Budget.
However, in a comment to KCW Today, Slaughter, also criticised the Mayor of London and TfL’s inaction on the project, saying “it is disappointing that Boris Johnson after lending support to the scheme before the local elections in 2014 has done nothing to progress it.” Before adding that “while TfL have spent £70 million on renewing the Flyover,” they have not “offered any support to the Flyunder,” meaning that the Flyunder “would, therefore, have to be self-funding.”
In a Hammersmith Flyunder feasibility study, it was estimated that the “tunnel replacement could take just three years to construct,” and potentially “release up to a £1billion worth of former highway” in the town centre “to help pay for the works.”
It is estimated that the Hammersmith flyunder, which could take various routes and reach anywhere between 1 and 2.5 miles in length, will cost between £218 million and £1.7 billion. Using the current A4 path as a guideline will be the shortest path and involves simply removing and replacing the Flyover with a “cut and cover” style tunnel which can be built over.
If Osborne’s’ support for the project results in TfL expediting its proposals, “up to £1 billion worth of former highway” could be unlocked, resulting in a “net profit in excess of £500m.”