A major road linking parts of Essex to London could be buried in a tunnel, if plans by Barking and Dagenham council are approved.
The A13 runs through south-Essex, linking towns such as Purfleet and Rainham to London, but the 6-lane road also acts as a significant barrier as it passes through Barking. It’s also a pollution and noise hotspot which affects people living nearby, even though they gain negligible benefit from it.
The area through Barking straddles a mix of light industrial and residential, but is earmarked for a lot more residential developments – not least Barking Riverside, but also Bream Park and areas around Castle Green.
The council’s Local Plan 2037 proposes looking at options to either bury, or cover over the major road into a road tunnel to reduce noise and pollution, and then build housing on top.
That allows them to add more flats on top of the hidden road and improves the environment for those already planned to be built in the area.
The A13 is currently at ground level, so burying it would mean shifting the road into a new tunnel, but as it runs alongside an industrial area set to be redeveloped, it’s not a particularly difficult project to engineer — just a problem to pay for. The funding though could be supported by studies conducted by Arup, Jacobs and Farrells suggests that the project would directly unlock £1.7bn in land value uplift for the wider area.
The council says that the tunnel is also an infrastructure project that can be delivered at relative speed ahead of 2030 and would be constructed under a phased delivery model that minimises disruption in the borough. The total cost of the tunnel plus station being £800 million which would be more than recouped from the development value that would be created. The scheme being able to be delivered within the life of the existing Design Build Operate contract for the road.
Initially, the Borough is seeking £5 million to complete full design work and a detailed business plan.
The plan also expects to use some of the revenue from the extra housing developments to fund an extra railway station on the London Overground extension to Barking Riverside.
The additional station, provisionally known in the council documents as Castle Green, would sit on Renwick Road where passive provision is already being provided for the station. The additional station is expected to support the release of industrial sites at Creekmouth, Castle Green and Thames Road, to enable the delivery of 11,000 new homes on these sites by 2030.
A consultation on the Local Plan is anticipated to start on 5 October 2020 and run for eight weeks until 29 November 2020.