in association with RAC

Road works for the London Olympics and how they're affecting traffic

09 December 2011

London motorists and commuters fed up with road works and preparations for the much vaunted London Olympics in 2012 are well advised to organise even greater contingency plans for the duration of the big event.


Transport for London has already spent over £6 billion on essential upgrades and assures Londoners it has the situation well under control: “We recognise the Games are going to create part of the transport network that will be subject to greater traffic demands and we've put in place a variety of measures in order to try to manage that.”


Dedicated Games Lanes restricted to Olympic and Paralympic athletes, emergency services, Games officials, the media, and the who’s who of the capital, together with a medley of temporary amendments to the usual flow of traffic, are liable to exacerbate an already heaving public transport system and the traditional snarl of traffic intrinsic to the gracious old city.

The temporary Games Lanes are planned for a third of the Olympic Road Network, or ORN, that clocks in at 109 miles, covering one per cent of London’s busy streets.


With an estimated 18 000 Olympic athletes, 6000 Paralympic competitors and over three million visitors expected to make daily trips in and out of the city on public transport, London residents should brace themselves for a tough, though enjoyable, Olympic experience. Locals are strongly urged to avoid high-volume areas while Olympic organisers claim a whopping 30 per cent drop in commuter figures on the overworked tube systems is a pre-requisite if the large volumes of Olympic visitors are going to be adequately catered for, creating massive delays.


The 2012 Olympic Games Lanes are planned for:

  • The Highway, a mile-long road in the East End of the city
  • Around Wembley Stadium in north west London
  • To the southern district of Greenwich via central London
  • The main Olympics site at Stratford in the north east of the city


Apart from the restricted Games Lanes criss-crossing the city, organisers have suggested a number of temporary alterations that are almost certain to affect locals.


Traffic signal timings will be altered to enhance the free flow of vehicles and pedestrians, while restricted turns will be introduced for the same reason. A host of parking and loading bays and a limited number of pedestrian crossings will be suspended for the duration of the Games, providing problems for local traders and businessmen.