Feature: Gallows Corner, driving motorists to despair since 1970

It is the junction that has been driving motorists to despair since 1970.

Its flyover was built as a temporary structure, with a life expectancy of just 15 years.

Almost half a century later Gallows Corner, where the A12, A127, Main Road and Straight Road meet, remains one of London’s busiest junctions.

It was the subject of a major campaign in the mid-1990s, backed by the Post’s sister newspaper the Romford Recorder, for work to be carried out to make the “killer corner” safer.

The coalition government pledge in October of this year to spend money improving 57 “pinch points” across the national road network has reignited the debate about the junction.

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Harold Hill resident and long time Gallows Corner campaigner Dave Ainsworth, of Barnstaple Road, said: “Surely the infamous Gallows Corner should be on such a list? It daily adds much (and unacceptable) time to working commuters’ journeys while also giving an appalling road accident history.

“We’ve seen many busy junctions on the A13 tackled, from the M25 right to the heart of the East End, so a solution to Gallows Corner is well overdue.”

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Hornchurch and Upminster MP Angela Watkinson and Romford MP Andrew Rosindell have asked for a meeting with transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin to make the case for investment to ease the congested corner.

Named after the place at which criminals used to be hanged, close to what is now Eastern Avenue East, the corner has a long history of notoriety.

In 2008 the junction was named the eighth most dangerous in London.

After years of residents’, politicians’ and newspapers’ campaigning, Transport for London (TfL) completed work on the flyover in 2009 – although for some the reaction to the disruption of the months of work was almost as bad as the original problems.

Then Romford Recorder news editor Eden Black visited the site with contractors working on it. He wrote: “I am a despised man met with a mixture of venomous hatred from white van men incredulous that the overpass remains shut and the odd sarcastic compliment that at last the contractors have made an appearance at the desolate junction.”

Today, 42 years after it was designed as a “temporary” solution to the regular bottlenecking which had occurred in the area since just after the Second World War, its flyover remains a temporary structure – and there is no sign of a permanent solution to its gridlock.

A spokesman for TfL said: “TfL recently completed a year-long maintenance programme to extend the life of the Gallows Corner flyover.

“This work has helped minimise the need for any further large scale maintenance for at least a decade.

“There would need to be a substantial investment to redesign it completely which is not possible in our current investment programme.

He added: “However, as with all locations on TfL Road Network, we will keep the area under review to see whether further improvements could be delivered in the future.”

Whatever the eventual solution, after 42-years, most road users won’t be expecting anything to change soon.

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