The Anonymous Widower

Britain’s Longest Road Tunnel Could Be Built Along A27

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in The Argus.

These three paragraphs outline the scheme.

The longest road tunnel in the UK could be built as a long-term solution to congestion along the A27.

The tunnel, which would cost around £2 billion, has been touted as a way of addressing traffic and a way to improve local quality of life.

A new report by Transport for the South East (TfSE) said investing in such schemes is the only way carbon emissions from congested road traffic can be seriously tackled and improve.

The article also states, that the project is unlikely to be started before 2050.

These are my thoughts.

Where Will The Tunnel Be Built?

This Google Map shows Worthing.

Note.

  1. The A27 road runs roughly across the top of the map.
  2. The A27 has sections of dual-carriageway.
  3. There are two roundabouts, where the A27 connects with the A24 road between London and Worthing via Sutton, Dorking and Horsham.
  4. The West Coastway Line runs across the middle of the map.
  5. Four of the five stations in Worthing are visible.
  6. From East to West the stations are East Worthing, Worthing, West Worthing and Durrington-on-Sea, with Goring-by-Sea off the map to the West.

This Google Map shows the section of the A27 to the West of the A24.

Note.

  1. The A27 goes all the way across the map.
  2. There is a large junction with the A280 at the Western edge of the map.
  3. There is a large roundabout at the junction with the A24, at the Eastern edge of the map.
  4. The Western half of the A27 between the two junctions, appears to be dual-carriageway.
  5. The A27 continues in the West as a dual-carriageway between the junction with the A280, almost as far as Arundel.

I suspect the Western portal of the tunnel would be close to the junction with the A280 and for much of the route, it could be bored under the A27 to minimise noise and vibration for those living along the route.

This third Google Map shows the section of the A27 to the East of the A24.

Note.

  1. The A27 goes all the way across the map.
  2. It shares a route with the A24 between the two roundabouts towards the West of the map.
  3. The Eastern section of the A27 appears to be dual-carriageway.
  4. T27 continues in the East to the North of Shoreham and Brighton and the South of Lewes.

I suspect the Eastern portal of the tunnel would be close to the Western end of the dual-carriageway section to Lewes and for much of the route, it could be bored under the A27 and A24 to minimise noise and vibration for those living along the route.

As we’re good at tunneling in the UK, I don’t think this will be a difficult tunnel to bore.

What Should We Do In The Interim?

The article in the Argus says this.

Should the plans go ahead, the tunnel could be ready for construction by 2050, with a range of other measures proposed to cut congestion in the short term.

2050 is a long time to wait.

I haven’t driven in the area much in the last twenty years, as even before I didn’t drive, I’ve tended to take the train to places like Brighton, Eastbourne, Portsmouth and Southampton.

In my experience the East and West Coastway Lines along the South Coast have reasons, why people drive for preference.

  • The trains are not frequent enough. There should be four trains per hour (tph) if possible.
  • There needs to be more direct train services to London and Gatwick Airport.
  • Some of the stations are not very passenger-friendly. More step-free access is needed.
  • Some of the stations can’t handle twelve-car trains.
  • The Class 313 trains, that are used to the West of Brighton, were built in the 1970s. Similar trains of that period in the rest of the UK, have either been replaced or will soon be.
  • Is there enough car parking?
  • Could some closed stations be reopened?
  • Could Park-and-Ride facilities be built, where the A27 crosses the railway?
  • Would it help, if the West and East Coastway Lines didn’t need a change at Brighton?
  • Would a high speed service between Eastbourne and London via Hastings and High Speed One attract leisure passengers.

An improved railway might reduce traffic on the A27.

Perhaps the easiest improvement would be to replace all the East and West Coastway fleet with new or refurbished trains with the following specification.

  • 100 mph operation.
  • High-class well-designed interior matched to the passenger mix.
  • Ability to handle the Marshlink Line and other sections without electrification.
  • Wi-fi and power sockets.
  • A refreshment trolley might be a good idea.

A marketing campaign might help.

September 20, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. The rail network was severely reduced in the sixties, and services and choice of routes also reduced. I used to travel from Eastbourne to Portsmouth by road for work in an hour in the early nineties. Rail travel then was slow and did not integrate with road transport. An A27 Motorway has been touted for years, as has a high spead rail link from the West of England to Folkstone. Current economics suggest that no money will be spent unless the Prime Minister moves South.

    Comment by jagracer | September 20, 2022 | Reply

    • I don’t think fortunes need to be spent to improve the railway, but road schemes will cost a lot more.

      Comment by AnonW | September 20, 2022 | Reply

  2. The motor car will be defunct by 2050 – it’s yesterday’s transport based on the day before yesterday’s technology and planning assumptions. Time to think ahead to forms of transport that are both more space-efficient and energy-efficient and don’t wreck societies, townscapes and landscapes.

    Comment by Stephen Spark | September 20, 2022 | Reply

    • As someone, who’s worked at home since 1972, I tend to agree with your first statement. I also believe that, we’ll see more innovative tunneling schemes, as we are getting better at digging tunnels.

      Comment by AnonW | September 20, 2022 | Reply

  3. Having had our erstwhile MP for Guildford raise Questions in the House earlier this year regarding her request for a tunnel to be built as part of the London – Portsmouth A3 road improvement I just had to answer.
    At approximately 7.5 Kms long it would not only exceed the length of the longest road, the East London River Crossing (4kms) currently being built, but would be at least 40% longer than this A27 relief scheme.
    Frankly I think road tunnels like this are lunacy, not only because of those points mentioned by other contributors but also due to traffic management issues – just count the number of times the two lane, 2km tunnel at Hindhead has been fully or partially closed.

    Comment by fammorris | September 20, 2022 | Reply

  4. Just recycle the machines from HS2 that will save a few quid

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | September 20, 2022 | Reply

    • When I was on contract at London Underground’s Acton Works there was a ‘spare’ tunnel boring machine (or at least the remnants of it) mouldering away in a building known as TDU. The pigeons loved the place.

      Comment by fammorris | September 20, 2022 | Reply

      • When I went to see the launch of Millicent and Ursula, someone asked about recycling.

        Millicent And Ursula Prepare To Go Tunnelling

        The reply was that the back ends and the conveyors are generally refurbished and reused and lots of parts from the front end are standard and can end up in other boring machines. But as cutter heads have different specifications depending on size and ground conditions, they are often stripped and buried. There are two cutter heads visible to the public, that I know of at Bank and Greenwich stations.

        Comment by AnonW | September 20, 2022


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