Crossrail has been forced into a U-turn over plans to run a convoy of 30-tonne trucks through the smartest streets in west London for six days a week for the next 18 months.
It had earmarked a route running via Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, Westbourne Grove and Holland Park to transport huge concrete segments of the new tunnel from a worksite in Old Oak Common to the tunnel’s entry point at Westbourne Grove.
'The scale of the opposition has prompted transport bosses to rethink the plan at the 11th hour'
But more than 200 residents, residents associations, businesses and politicians objected, claiming the lorries would cause traffic chaos, endanger school children, and create noise and pollution.
They also raised fears that vibrations would cause structural damage to homes. Westminster Council is expected to refuse the proposal on Thursday evening (March 1).
The earmarked streets were Chepstow Road, Great Western Road, Ladbroke Grove, Holland Park Avenue, Pembridge Road, Pembridge Villas and Ladbroke Grove.
But the scale of the opposition has prompted transport bosses to rethink the plan at the 11th hour and the search for a new route has begun. “Crossrail is currently agreeing an alternative proposal with Westminster City Council that will no longer require us to use the proposed route,” said a spokeswoman.
The new route has not yet been announced, but is it is unlikely to find favour with those living nearby when the work begins in March. Campaigners suggest that Crossrail should move the tunnel parts by barge along the Grand Union Canal.
The London Waterways Commission and British Waterways both claim the project would be a great opportunity to demonstrate an environmentally friendly yet under-used transport resource and accuse Crossrail of dismissing the idea out of hand.
Crossrail insists that using barges is not “practically possible” solution, and points out that it is using rail and river transport on other parts of the project to minimise road traffic.