A 'perfect traffic storm' will bring Olympic chaos to London
33% more cars will clog roads and motors will crawl along at up to 12mph.
Motorists face a 'perfect storm' of Olympic gridlock as the first three days of the sporting extravaganza face being crippled by jams chaos.
Millions of drivers and commuters in London and the South East around the M25 will be hardest hit as jams and journey times increase by a third, traffic on key routes slows to just 12 mph, with the rush-hour traffic peaking 90 minutes earlier at 5.30am and 3.30pm, adding an average 20 additional minutes to a one hour journey.
But this could easily double to 40 minutes in the worst cases. In the 'worst case scenario' the Olympic opening ceremony could be held in 'a half empty stadium' because the other half are stuck in a jam.
The report says the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday 27th July clashes with one of the busiest holiday getaway weekends of the summer when traffic levels are already around 30 per cent above average.
The men's and women's road cycling events are also being held over that first Olympic weekend: 'These will require thousands of road closures to be implemented throughout South West London and around the county of Surrey.'
Preparatory dry-runs in August 2011 saw traffic 'descend into chaos', it noted: 'Journeys of just a few miles took several hours and some drivers were forced to abandon their cars.'
By contrast, elite Olympic VIPs will be spared the jams because they have exclusive use of more than 250 miles of the nation's busiest roads. Up to 80,000 officials, sponsors, politicians and athletes - dubbed 'the Games Family' - will be whisked seamlessly down specially reserved congestion-free lanes in a fleet of up to 4,000 low and zero polluting BMW and MINI vehicles – including electric and hybrid powered cars.
The lanes stretching from London to as far as Weymouth in Dorset and encompassing parts of the M25 - while millions of motorists sit in gridlock. Drivers straying into the Olympic Lanes face crippling fixed- penalties and, says the AA, fines up to £5,000 for those who challenge them.
the weekend of 27th, 28th and 29th July will be worst: 'Traditionally this is one of the busiest holiday getaway weekends of the year, combine this with the Olympic opening ceremony and the Men's road cycling race and we could have the perfect traffic storm.'
'Nearly 100,000 ticket-holders are expected at the opening ceremony, with tens of thousands of visitors anticipated at the live sites at Hyde Park and Victoria Park. 'Couple this with the thousands of roads closed for the Men's Road Cycling event and the result is huge stress on the UK's road networks.'
In early August the start time for daily congested periods will move forward by up to 90 minutes, with morning peak traffic hitting at 5.30am instead of 7am and evening peak traffic hitting as early as 3.30pm rather than 5pm.
The congestion report predicts that people travelling on the 'core' Olympic routes should plan for at least 20 minutes more for journeys which would normally take an hour.
Journeys through Games 'hotspots' such as Vauxhall Bridge and the key Blackwall Tunnel – linking the main Olympic village to the North Greenwich Arena (O2) - will take at least 15 minutes longer. Across Greater London the average increase will be 12 minutes for the duration of the games.
Lunchtime traffic as venues clear and refill between sessions will add up to nine minutes to standard lunchtime travel times.
Olympic planners hope 80per cent of visitors to the main Games park will arrive by public transport, using park and ride schemes that have capacity for 18,000 vehicles in Essex and 9,000 in Ebbsfleet.
However, the report noted that with the major Lakeside shopping centre next door, and both adjacent to the M25:''Traffic trouble will be near impossible to avert. '
Get around more easily by planning ahead
This year brings the largest sporting events in the world to the UK - the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Because we're hosting these large events, you'd expect roads and public transport to be much busier than usual. We've developed this site to help you understand where the travel hotspots will be and enable you to plan in advance to make your journeys easier.