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Ringway 1 or the London Motorway Box was the innermost of the series of four motorway standard roads, known as the London Ringways as part of a comprehensive scheme developed by the Greater London Council (GLC) to provide high speed motorway-standard roads within the capital linking a series of radial roads taking traffic into and out of the city. The scheme was cancelled in 1973.
Ringway 1 was planned to comprise four sections across the capital forming a roughly rectangular box of motorways. These sections were designated:
- North Cross Route - from Harlesden to Hackney Wick via West Hampstead, Camden Town, Highbury and Dalston
- East Cross Route - from Hackney Wick to Kidbrooke via Bow, Blackwall and Greenwich
- South Cross Route - from Kidbrooke to Battersea via Lewisham, Peckham, Brixton and Clapham
- West Cross Route - from Harlesden to Battersea via North Kensington, Shepherds Bush, West Kensington, Earls Court and Chelsea Harbour
Much of the scheme would have been constructed as elevated roads on concrete pylons and the routes were designed to follow the alignments of existing railway lines to minimise the amount of land required for construction. Nevertheless, the disruption and widespread demolition required to build the Ringway would have been considerable.
The cost of Ringway 1 was expected to cost £480 million (£6.7 billion today) including £144 million (£1.95 billion today) for property purchases. It would require 1,048 acres (4.24 km2) and affect 7,585 houses. In 1970 the GLC set aside £1.7 billion (approximately £23.7 billion today) for the construction of about half of the Ringways.
The only parts of Ringway 1 that were constructed were part of the West Cross Route between North Kensington and Shepherds Bush which was opened by Michael Heseltine in 1970, simultaneously with Westway, to loud protests; some residents hung a huge banners with 'Get us out of this Hell - Rehouse Us Now' outside their windows and protesters disrupted the opening procession by driving a lorry the wrong way along the new road. The East Cross Route, including a new 'eastern bore' for the Blackwall Tunnel opened between 1967 and 1979.
Other London Ringways
- Micheal Bailey, Road programme cost estimated at £1,700 m, The Times, 19 August 1970
- UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2016), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
- "History". Westway Trust. Archived from the original on 12 December 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
- "Westway". British History. Retrieved 28 December 2009.