Nabil Westcombe comments on the rumoured abolition of the A102(M):
I think the word abolished is a little too strong; it makes it sound as though the road no longer exists!
I don't have full knowledge of this, but I think the following points are worth noting:
Firstly, the A102(M) no longer has Motorway status on maps nor is it signed a Motorway. (If you wish, I can send you a JPEG photo of this.) Therefore one can certainly not be in denial!
http://www.hmso.gov.uk/si/si1997/97295101.htm refers to it as a Trunk road rather than a Special road, so it would appear not to be a ``Special road'' anymore.
However, there are still Motorway restrictions on both stretches of what were the A102(M) - No Pedestrians etc. sign, and No Stopping. Both are still there and remain built to (urban?) Motorway standard.
I don't know why Motorway status was removed, but I can think of several reasons;
What about the A40(M) and M41? Last time I went down the there, a few months ago, the A40(M) was still the A40(M). And according to http://www.streetmap.co.uk/, which appears to be reasonably up-to-date, they still exist. However, no arguing with someone who has been there more recently!
Removal of status makes sense here for the A40(M) is another confusion; easy to confuse with the M40 that joins up with the A40 Western Avenue. The M41 was the West Cross Route which was not completed. It probably does not deserve the prominence of being marked as a Motorway on a map.
The London Motorway system remains largely incomplete (and roads such as, notably, the A406 South Woodford to Barking Relief Road might be seen as an attempt to build part of the system, but even if limited access dual carriageway are not Motorway status) and it seems rather senseless, therefore, to have a few stretches of Motorway in Inner London when there is no overall ``system'' in place.
One other thought does come to mind. These roads will transfer from the Highways Agency to the Greater London Authority as far as I know. Since the Highways Agency is responsible for all Motorways in the UK, perhaps removal of Motorway status is required for this.
During 1999 I was the HA Project Engineer on the London Primary Route Signing Project which was responsible for renumbering the A102(M).
Both sections of the A102(M) were not built as urban motorways; in no way did they meet the design standard. (Anything more than 40mph in Eastway tunnel would result in you bouncing off the walls!) The GLC renumbered them with the (M) in the 1980s.
The proposals for the Mayor's office, GLA and TfL were not relevant, as the decision to renumber the A102(M) had already been made. As you mentioned the northern section had to be resigned to fit in with the A12 extension (Wanstead-Hackney Wick) and the southern section was being remodelled for the Millennium Dome access works. In addition we were reducing the speed limits in several areas. The date of the official renumbering was 16/9/99, however most of the new signs were installed in the previous months - renumbering roads in not an easy task!
The renumbering of the M41, A40(M) was undertaken in 2000 (after I left), however the decision to renumber was pre-TfL/GLA and partly down to local politics.
On a slightly different tack for a period in 1999/2000 (at least) the last 300m of the A12 extension at Hackney Wick was a ``secret motorway''. The original orders for the road predated the renumbering of the A102(M). Therefore the last 300m of the new road, where it tied in with the A102(M) was made under a Motorway order, it was only in 1998/99 (according to my spy!) that it was realised that this section of Motorway would be left high and dry between two bits of the A12. Changing Motorway orders is a long process so the road way opened as the A12 even though it was a Motorway!
I thought you'd be interested to know that the A40(M) no longer exists! Last time I drove along it (from the BBC's White City building towards Euston) all the (M) suffixes had been painted out on the signs. I'm also sure I saw a sign some where saying A40 (formerly A40(M)).
I discovered the reason for the A40(M) disappearance: the GLA. (I found this note on the highways agency site):
as from the 3rd of July (2000) all former trunk roads within the Greater London Authority (GLA) apart from the tail ends of the M1, M4 and the M11 motorways are the responsibility of the GLA.
A detailed list of all the roads transferred to the GLA is at http://www.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2000/20001117.htm and includes mentions of roads such as the A12 described as: