HC Deb 18 June 1958 vol 589 cc1097-8
28. Mr. G. Wilson

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what progress has been made with the proposal to use the Kingsway subway as an underpass for traffic.

Mr. Watkinson

Possible uses for the Kingsway Tunnel have been under review for some time and I recently asked the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee to reconsider the matter.

A scheme has been devised for adapting part of the tunnel as a vehicle underpass beneath the Strand—Aldwych intersection and I understand that this scheme is at present under consideration by the London County Council.

Mr. Wilson

Can my right hon. Friend say how long it would take before the scheme would come into operation if it should be accepted?

Mr. Watkinson

I understand that it would not take a long time to modify the tunnel. I think this would be a very useful addition to London's traffic facilities. It gives the kind of separation of traffic streams which is so important.

Mr. H. Morrison

Will the Minister push hard against the pundits in this matter? I had something to do with it during the term of office of the Labour Government, and the advice given was that nothing could be done. Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is a tragedy that this subway is not used for traffic on a highly-congested route? I should have thought that it should be used for traffic right up to Theobald's Road. Will the right hon. Gentleman hit these fellows over the head and persuade them to adopt thoughtful and constructive thinking and to find out how to do something instead of proving that it cannot be done?

Mr. Watkinson

I am not sure whether the right hon. Gentleman is asking me to hit his colleagues in the L.C.C. over the head. In any case, I agree with him entirely. We ought to make some use of the tunnel, and I will do my best to get the job done as quickly as possible.