Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Games Lanes cause rush-hour jams

'Ordinary' motorists going into the Games Lanes face fines of 130 pounds

The first day of Olympics-only traffic Games Lanes has caused congestion for rush-hour drivers.

There were jams on a number of roads including the A4 and A40 in west London, Hyde Park Corner and Euston Road.

A total of 30 miles of Games Lanes have been introduced as part of the 109-mile Olympic Route Network (ORN) around London. The lanes, in operation from 6am to midnight throughout the Olympics, run alongside existing lanes and are clearly marked. Any "ordinary" motorist going into the Games Lanes faces fines of £130, while release fees for impounded vehicles could be £200.

The lanes are being used by authorised "Olympic Family" vehicles. These include vehicles used by athletes, Olympic officials and VIPs, with 1,300 vehicles an hour expected to use them.

Despite repeated warnings to motorists to avoid central London, there were queues around the lanes. There was congestion on the M4 in west London, while on the nearby A4 there were jams in Chiswick. There were also hold-ups for motorists on the A12 at the Lea Interchange in east London and at the A13 Canning Town Flyover.

The A40 around Ealing and at Westway in west London was also congested, while Grosvenor Place in Victoria in central London and the Hyde Park Corner Junction were also busy. Other areas of London where there were rush-hour jams included Tower Bridge and Baker Street.

Traffic information company Inrix said routes off the ORN suffered the most on Wednesday.

The company's traffic analyst, Cat Kobylinski, went on: "Traffic heading into town from Heathrow to Hammersmith took more than twice the normal length of time along the M4 and A4. With average speeds of just 10 miles per hour, drivers were seeing delays of more than one hour and were stuck in nearly 12 miles of queues.

"Congestion doubled between Waterloo and London Bridge. Delays persisted long after rush hour was over with significant queues even up to 11am."

There was also heavy congestion in Harrow and Wembley, north-west London, as huge crowds lined the streets to watch the Olympic Torch relay.

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