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Ringway 4 was the outermost of the series of four London Ringways, ring roads planned in the 1960s to circle London at various distances from the city centre. They were part of a comprehensive scheme developed by the Greater London Council (GLC) to alleviate traffic congestion on the city's road system by providing high speed motorway-standard roads within the capital linking a series of radial roads taking traffic into and out of the city. Most of the scheme was cancelled in 1973.
- for a detailed history see London Ringways
Ringway 4 was planned as a new rural motorway/dual carriageway connecting a number of towns around the capital including Sevenoaks, Redhill/Reigate, Leatherhead, Staines, Uxbridge, Watford, St Albans, Hatfield, Hertford and Hoddesdon.
Despite its name, the route of Ringway 4 did not make a complete circuit of London. It was, instead, U-shaped. The planned route started at a junction with the M20 motorway (then also being planned) near Wrotham in Kent and ran west as motorway around the capital to Hunton Bridge near Watford. From Watford the road was to become dual carriageway heading east until it met Ringway 3 near Navestock in Essex. The designation for the motorway section was M25.
Construction began on the first section of the motorway between Godstone and Reigate (junctions 6 to 8) in 1973 and included a junction with the M23 motorway which was under construction at the same time.
Whilst the construction of the first section was in progress, the plan for Ringways 3 and 4 was modified considerably. Broadly speaking, the motorway section of Ringway 4 was to be built and connected to the northern and eastern section of Ringway 3 (from the current M25 junction 23 with the A1 clockwise to the current junction 3 with the M20) Two additional sections of motorway were added to the plan to join the two original sections and the remaining parts of the two rings were cancelled. The south-eastern section of Ringway 4 between Wrotham and Sevenoaks was redesignated as the M26.
- for more information on the route of the southern and western sections of Ringway 4 see M25 motorway
Except for a deviation from the original plan around Leatherhead, the current M26 and the M25 between junctions 5 and 19 mostly follow the planned route of Ringway 4.
The Godstone to Reigate section was opened in 1976 and the remaining sections of the southern Ringway 4 were constructed over the next ten years.
One short section of the dual carriage way portion of Ringway 4 was constructed in Hoddesdon linking the town to the A10. The overly large junction between the link road and the A10 was built with space available to continue the road westward over the A10 as originally planned.
Other London Ringways