London’s motorists faced lengthy delays on their way into work on Wednesday morning as Olympics-only traffic Games Lanes opened.
The Games Lanes, which cover 30 miles in total, have been introduced to London as part of the 109-mile Olympic Route Network (ORN). The lanes are in operation from 6am to midnight throughout the Games and are clearly marked.
Drivers found to have entered the Games Lanes without authorisation could face fines of £130, while release fees for impounded vehicles could hit £200.
Repeated warnings have been issued to drivers to avoid central London during the Games, but they did not prevent queues from forming. The A4 and A40 in west London, as well as Euston Road and Hyde Park Corner were all hit by congestion.
There were also hold-ups on the M4 in west London, while drivers on the nearby A4 in Chiswick experienced delays.
Motorists on the A12 at the Lea Interchange in the east of the city were delayed, as well as those on the A13 Canning Town Flyover.
London mayor Boris Johnson said: “With just days until the opening ceremony, London is more prepared for the Games than any other Olympic city has ever been. The ORN is a requirement of all host cities, ensuring athletes and officials get to their events on time.
“We’ve already slashed its length by one third compared to what was originally planned and we are introducing these changes to the road network as late as possible, to minimise the impact on Londoners and businesses.
“We will also operate the Games Lanes flexibly so that if demand from the official Olympic vehicles is low, we will open up the Games Lanes to all traffic.”
London’s public transport network was also hit by delays on Tuesday evening as nine mainline trains serving Stratford were unable to stop at the station due to the unusually high temperatures.
Meanwhile, LondonlovesBusiness.com reporter Shruti Tripathi saw her typical 40-minute commute on the Tube between St James’ Park and East Ham run to three-and-a-half hours due to problems on the network.
“At Aldgate station, the Tube driver announced that the Tube wouldn’t go up to East Ham because of signal failure and that passengers should take alternative routes.
“The Tube didn’t move for about 20 minutes, so I decided to get off and take the bus. I had to wait for at least half an hour at the bus stop to get on a bus because it was really overcrowded.
“Then when I did manage to get on one it took me two hours to get home, presumably because of the diversions due to the Olympic lanes.”
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