Overhaul work under way at Old Street roundabout
Project is brought forward after cyclist was involved in serious collision
30 November, 2018 — By Samantha Booth
An illustration of how Old Street roundabout will look after work that will aim to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians
WORK to overhaul Old Street roundabout and make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians finally got under way this week.
The dramatic redesign of the outdated 1960s junction will close the north-west arm of the junction and create segregated cycle lanes.
Preparatory works, which were due to start next year, were brought forward to November after a serious collision involving a cement mixer which led to cyclist Sarah Doone having her leg amputated.
Friends have raised more than £38,000 to help 38-year-old Ms Doone, from Peckham, through her rehabilitation.
After the crash in July, cycling campaigners said it was “shocking” that work had not yet started despite a public consultation which ended more than three years ago.
A report in May 2015 revealed how Transport for London (TfL) was planning to start enabling works for the scheme in early 2016.
How the new roundabout will look at night
TfL, who are working with Hackney and Islington councils on the plans, have revealed further reasons behind the delay. A spokeswoman said there had been an investigation into whether a major upgrade of Old Street tube station – which sits beneath the roundabout – could be completed at the same time the junction revamp.
However, this was ruled out because of land issues and structural engineering complexities.
A ditched £50million pledge to regenerate the roundabout area, announced by former PM David Cameron and then London Mayor Boris Johnson in 2012, could have helped resolve some issues, but was not “solely responsible”, the spokeswoman added.
The station upgrade is still part of TfL’s long-term plans for the area.
The original proposals also included a development to be built above ground, but after a detailed assessment of the structures below, it was considered too complex, costly and time-consuming.
In the plans brought forward, as requested by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the main works will begin in February with an aim to finish by the end of 2020. Extended working hours have been agreed to get the work done quicker.
Town Hall chiefs are currently discussing a final structure – dubbed the “Iconic Gateway” – to go on top of the roundabout, after an appeal for design ideas earlier this year.
As work at the roundabout started this week, transport chief Cllr Claudia Webbe said: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform a polluted, outdated junction so that priority and space is given to people instead of vehicles.
“This will contribute towards Old Street being a great place to live, work, study and visit with significant safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, public transport users, and people who live and work nearby.”