Weather threat to mayor’s US visit

Published: Sunday 8th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Boris Johnson may be forced to cut short the first leg of his US trade mission amid treacherous weather warnings.

London’s mayor has arrived in Boston for the start of a tour of America’s East Coast but the city has announced a parking ban and advised people to stay at home after severe snow storm warnings were issued.

Mr Johnson kicked-off his six-day visit with a walkabout in sub-zero temperatures around Boston’s “big dig” regeneration project, which saw major highways diverted underground, and announced proposals to redesign key London road networks.

Intensive work will now begin at five locations in the capital that could have stretches of tunnels or so-called fly-unders developed to allow regeneration in the city, including at the A4 in Hammersmith, the A13 in Barking Riverside, the A3 in Tolworth, the A316 at Chalkers Corner and the A406 in New Southgate.

Congestion would be eased by replacing the inner ring road with an orbital tunnel or two cross city tunnels, under transport plans for the city.

Mr Johnson, who has dual US and UK nationality as he was born in New York, said: “Rebuilding some of our complex and ageing road network underneath our city would not only provide additional capacity for traffic, but it would also unlock surface space and reduce the impact of noise and pollution.

“I am inspired by what the ambitious people of Boston have achieved here at the Big Dig, both in terms of reducing congestion and how they have dramatically improved the quality of life on the surface. In London we face similar challenges on our roads, but this could also be a fantastic opportunity to better shape our city and support economic growth.”

Mr Johnson is leading a delegation of representatives from the capital’s science and technology industries during the visit.

He will hold talks with Hillary Clinton later this week. The mayor will discuss the fight against Islamic State (also known as IS and Isil) during a meeting later this week with the former US secretary of state.

The battle against the terror group will also be top of the agenda when he meets New York City police chief Bill Bratton, once floated as a possible Metropolitan Police commissioner.

City hall sources said: “The mayor and senator Clinton are likely to discuss the situation in Iraq and Syria and the threat posed by Isil in terms of the region and exporting terror back to London and other cities.”

Published: Sunday 8th February 2015 by The News Editor

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