M25 ‘going underground’ to make room for runway

M25 ‘going underground’ to make room for runway
A stretch of the UK’s busiest motorway could be lowered and rerouted through a tunnel, as part of the expansion of Heathrow Airport.

As part of proposals for Heathrow’s long-debated third runway, the airport would reposition the M25 – which encircles Greater London – 150 metres to the west.

Motorway junctions and local road layouts would also be altered under the plans, now in consultation to be voted on later this year.

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Heathrow officials say by lowering the M25 by seven metres between junctions 14 and 15 – the total cost of expansion could come in £2.8 billion under estimates, at £14 billion.

MPs will vote on the plans, first proposed in 2003, later this year. If approved, it is thought work would begin in 2021, ahead of the runway taking its first flights in 2025.

For the most part, the M25 would be able to stay open as the new section is built, reducing congestion, according to airport officials.

The airport now wants to hear views from the public.

Last month a proposal to allocate a £30 billion pot of funding towards upgrading major A-roads – such as those around airports – into 70mph “expressways” was launched by Highways England.

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Heathrow’s executive director for expansion, Emma Gilthorpe, said: “We want an expanded Heathrow to be the world’s best airport, ensuring that our country and its future generations have the infrastructure they need to thrive.

“We need feedback to help deliver this opportunity responsibly and to create a long-term legacy both at a local and national level. Heathrow is consulting to ensure that we deliver benefits for our passengers, businesses across the country but also, importantly, for those neighbours closest to us.”

If the scheme is approved, Heathrow will submit a planning application after consulting local communities.

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