Puzzled Wapping residents have been checking their calendars. Olympic Route Network (ORN) barriers on the Highway appeared overnight Friday and were firmly in place yesterday morning, 21st July.
Although the ORN lane will not be operative until 25th July the fixed barriers mean Wapping drivers must divert as if they were.
Vehicles exiting Wapping island are forced to turn left at junctions with the Highway – where left and right turns are prohibited to traffic already travelling on the Highway.
TfL has lied and misled Wapping
All TfL communication has and continues to clearly state that restrictions such as banned right turns will commence from 6am on Wednesday 25th July.
“I think there has been (at best) somewhat underhand dealings with us, (at worst) downright intention to mislead and hide the facts”, says one local resident.
Technically the ORN will only be operative from 6am to midnight, but TfL have told us:
“It is not feasible to remove and reinstate these obstacles on a daily basis.”
So the Olympic Route Network has been delivered to Wapping five days ahead of the published TfL schedule and is already operative 24/7.
“I do not believe this has ever been made clear in any communication. If it has, please can you guide me to this information?” asks one resident of TfL.
TfL have not replied other than to say: “The operation of the network, i.e. enforcement and the issue of PCNs for contraventions, will be from 25 July to 14 August and 27 August to 11 September as advised before.”
Fixed Olympic barriers isolate Wapping
These pictures were very intentionally taken during a short period of quiet traffic yesterday, 21st July to help show how and where just some of these fixed barriers have appeared:
TfL must be held accountable to Wapping
The fixed barriers look very fixed to us, but TfL must still be held accountable to Wapping for cutting E1W off ahead of schedule and for longer than the official ORN/PRN period.
Businesses for example have planned night deliveries around TfL’s published dates, understanding there would be no right turn restrictions when they were made.
Less mobile residents have planned for help during the ORN and PRN periods only – but pedestrian crossings are already restricted or closed.
Emergency vehicles are also physically prevented from turning by the fixed barriers. Will lives be put at risk?
Last, but certainly not least, how will these unexpected and permanent changes affect the 2,500 troops moving into Tobacco Dock in Wapping Lane who need to travel and provide essential security at Olympic venues?
The army too can only to turn left and head west to the Tower Hill gyratory from Tobacco Dock in Wapping Lane:
Olympic route diversions [view here] have been implemented ahead of TfL’s published schedule for Wapping and will operate 24/7 until the end of the Games. We have tried but been unable to find anyone locally who was aware this was going to happen – including us.
TfL must be held accountable to Wapping and explain why these permanent fixed barriers were never mentioned in any of their consultation documents.