Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ho's to Blame for Today's Rush-Hour Chaos?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ho's to Blame for Today's Rush-Hour Chaos?

Article excerpt

Byline: ALLAN RAMSAY;DAVID WILLIAMS

WThe police WEST London was brought to an abrupt standstill during the morning rush hour today when one of the city's most important roads was closed to shoot a corporate video for the Metropolitan Police.

Motoring organisations reacted with fury and disbelief as Scotland Yard failed to warn them of the closure of the vital Hammersmith flyover - allowing thousands of motorists to become trapped in what they described as "nightmare" traffic jams.

Within minutes of the closure "horrendous" tailbacks brought paralysis to a huge network of key commuter routes and bus lanes, said the RAC.

The M4, the A316 and a swathe of roads surrounding Heathrow airport and Brentford became locked solid. Severe tailbacks on the A4 also disrupted traffic as far back as Kensington and Earl's Court as congestion built up around Exhibition Road.

Thousands of motorists fumed while the westbound carriageway of the flyover was shut completely for two hours to allow the filming of a scene involving a limousine, a helicopter and a posse of police motorcycle outriders.

Because no advance warnings were given to motoring organisations thousands of motorists added to the chaos when they continued to drive into the area.

AA Roadwatch said it only discovered the rapidly growing tailbacks when they were picked up on its traffic cameras. AA Road-watch spokeswoman Becky Rees said: "The carriageway was closed completely at 5.30am which is when we started to pick it up on our cameras. We rang the police and they told us it would be shut until 7.30 although it has overrun till about 7.50am.

"We weren't aware of it. There was no advance warning which would have helped the situation a bit. It just came on. It took everyone by surprise.

"This is one of the worst congested areas and you would think that rush hour would be the very last time to close a road like this.

It is bizarre, especially as with a train strike tomorrow, many commuters may have begun resorting to their cars to be on the safe side."

An RAC Travel News spokesman said he was "astonished" it had not been warned of the closure. …

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