Nine south east London and north Kent roads and junctions that belong in Hell

An unfortune learner driver at the Yorkshire Grey roundabout

Nine roads and junctions that belong in Hell

First published in News
Last updated

THE Blackwall Tunnel, the Dartford Crossing, Loampit Vale... names to make any driver shudder. Rumour has it that when dad rocker Chris Rea wrote his smash hit Road To Hell, he had just driven through south east London and north Kent. Sections of road in this part of of the world seem custom-designed to get you out of your car and squeezing onto a Southeastern train, only to send you back to your car when your train is cancelled for no reason. Here we rundown 10 tarmac terrors.

This Is Local London: Greg Wallace and John Torode

9. Bexleyheath Broadway

Designers of the new broadway threw out not just the rule book but also the Highway Code. A brave vision of the future where roads and kerbsides merge into one and rights of way no longer exist it seems the people of Bexleyheath were not quite ready for this. It's a classic example of developers thinking outside the box when normal people are perfectly happy inside it. Shortly after it opened, the News Shopper post bag bulged like Greg Wallace's cheeks when presented with a particularly creamy dessert.

This Is Local London: Western Way, Thamesmead

8. Western Way, Thamesmead (pic from Google Maps)

The road to Belmarsh and Woolwich Crown Court is paved with empty beer cans, the occasional car part and wrappers from the McDonalds meals eager young kids run out in front of cars to try and reach. To fully appreciate its horror you must walk from Plumstead station. The journey has made many a lawyer (or court reporter) question their career choice. A walk that seems to get longer the further you travel, with nothing to look at but a roaring main road on one side and a prison on the other, which you can just about see through the plastic bag-draped trees. Judges have been known to let defendants off prison, knowing the journey to court was punishment enough.

This Is Local London: The name of The Glades Shopping Centre is being changed to intu Bromley

7. Bromley town centre

Want to get 'intu Bromley'? Why not try navigating this confusing one way system patrolled by boy racers with 90s drum'n'bass hangovers and angry van drivers, which really comes into its own when there are roadworks. Yes, road layouts in somewhere like Croydon town centre are worse than this, but only because it means you've deliberately driven to Croydon.

This Is Local London: The driver did not hit the fish sculpture on the roundabout

6. Erith fish roundabout

Why are the fish there? Why? You will ask yourself this repeatedly after encountering the fish, which watch over Erith like a trinity of divine beings. The amount of mental effort required to process seeing three giant multi-coloured fish embracing one another on a roundabout (inspired by the old council coat of arms) means you have less attention on the road ahead, making an accident far more likely. Maybe.

This Is Local London: A picture of the scene

5. Yorkshire Grey roundabout, Eltham

The place wherefour areas collide, sometimes literally. Pity the poor learner driver who recently, while happily going about her business, was nearly crushed by a toppling truck. I once took a woman for a drive around this roundabout, broken glass glistening on its road surface in the summer sunshine. She never spoke to me again.

This Is Local London: The Blackwall Tunnel is often congested

4. The Blackwall Tunnel, Greenwich

Perennially closed by drivers who try to ram a lorry through it, the congestion here is truly awe inspiring. Cars queue back for miles while residents in plush new peninsula buildings choke on the fumes. If this sounds like your idea of a good time, you'll be pleased to know Boris Johnson wants to double your fun with another tunnel, right next door.

This Is Local London: Nine roads and junctions that belong in Hell

3. Loampit Vale, Lewisham (pic from Google Maps)

A former colleague once described his strategy for this junction as "close your eyes and hope for the best". While we wouldn't recommend that, the fact that this roundabout is choked with buses and some of the most aggressive drivers in the western world, every hour of the day, could make you take desperate measures. Staggeringly ugly, this is also the first thing visitors to Lewisham see when they pull in on their delayed Southeastern train. Lovely.

This Is Local London: Traffic on the crossing is often very slow

2. The Dartford Crossing

Not so much a crossing as a permanently long traffic jam. People who use the crossing regularly relate tales about it with the air of your grandparents telling you about the Blitz. Yet, if you drive in this part of town, there is no escape from it. You'll just find yourself reliving the torture, morning after morning, night after night. Forever. Unless you move.

This Is Local London: Nine roads and junctions that belong in Hell

1. Fiveways, Eltham (pic from Google Maps)

Legendary blues singer Robert Johnson once claimed he met the devil at a crossroads. If you were ever to come face to face with Satan, chances are it would be here. Poor road markings and right turns which, in a brilliant piece of design, mean its impossible to see if any thing is coming the other way, make this the hairiest junction in south east London. Every time you successfully make it through you'll want to rush home and hug your family close, thanking the gods you're still alive. Add to it cars jumping out of the garage or Burger King and it's a miracle there's not an accident here every single minute of the day. There was even a plan to build a hotel here, turning the carnage into some kind of jaw-dropping tourist attraction.

Have we missed any? Leave your suggestions below.

Comments (11)

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8:28am Fri 21 Feb 14

joncook says...

Good article. It made me laugh and that's a hard thing to do first thing in the morning.
Good article. It made me laugh and that's a hard thing to do first thing in the morning. joncook
  • Score: 8

12:21pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Techvedic says...

Dad rocker Chris Rea and the road both should thank each other, being mutually synonymous. Definitely, the name and fame are attributes for someone or something which weird and wayward. (Editor, Techvedic)
Dad rocker Chris Rea and the road both should thank each other, being mutually synonymous. Definitely, the name and fame are attributes for someone or something which weird and wayward. (Editor, Techvedic) Techvedic
  • Score: -4

2:03pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Jacqueline wilkinson says...

Creek road Deptford and A2 from Camberwell Green to Deptford always depress me with their long queues anytime day or night.
Creek road Deptford and A2 from Camberwell Green to Deptford always depress me with their long queues anytime day or night. Jacqueline wilkinson
  • Score: 6

2:16pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Mijoed says...

Loampit vale on a bicycle....truly a nightmare
Loampit vale on a bicycle....truly a nightmare Mijoed
  • Score: 7

6:18pm Fri 21 Feb 14

mouthalmighty says...

I don't recognise that picture of loampit vale. Could someone explain what angle this is from?
I don't recognise that picture of loampit vale. Could someone explain what angle this is from? mouthalmighty
  • Score: 2

7:01pm Fri 21 Feb 14

CatfordCat says...

mouthalmighty wrote:
I don't recognise that picture of loampit vale. Could someone explain what angle this is from?
Fairly sure it's from Molesworth Street, looking due north (i.e. towards Greenwich)
[quote][p][bold]mouthalmighty[/bold] wrote: I don't recognise that picture of loampit vale. Could someone explain what angle this is from?[/p][/quote]Fairly sure it's from Molesworth Street, looking due north (i.e. towards Greenwich) CatfordCat
  • Score: 4

10:53am Sun 23 Feb 14

danm5577 says...

Suprised crittals corner roundabout and sevenoakes aren't mentioned!
Suprised crittals corner roundabout and sevenoakes aren't mentioned! danm5577
  • Score: 4

10:37am Mon 24 Feb 14

highway warrior says...

Critalls Corner is pretty bad but 5 ways is truely abysmal.
Fish roundabout has plans in the offing to completely redesign it all, so maybe in 2020 it won't be an issue.....
As for the Dartford Tunnel.......that would be quite simple to relieve, make it free!!!
Critalls Corner is pretty bad but 5 ways is truely abysmal. Fish roundabout has plans in the offing to completely redesign it all, so maybe in 2020 it won't be an issue..... As for the Dartford Tunnel.......that would be quite simple to relieve, make it free!!! highway warrior
  • Score: 7

1:06pm Mon 24 Feb 14

sarfflondonbird says...

What about the one way system at Catford going towards Forest Hill etc? That is a nightmare of it's own. Oh and highway warrior...........so right about the Dartford Tunnel, should have been made free entry years ago, as promised by the then government. Thieving rot pots.
What about the one way system at Catford going towards Forest Hill etc? That is a nightmare of it's own. Oh and highway warrior...........so right about the Dartford Tunnel, should have been made free entry years ago, as promised by the then government. Thieving rot pots. sarfflondonbird
  • Score: 5

6:25am Tue 25 Feb 14

ISaidThis says...

Five ways isn't so bad, but the Yorkshire Grey roundabout? Sheesh! I remember having to navigate it on a push bike fifteen years ago and it was a nightmare.
Five ways isn't so bad, but the Yorkshire Grey roundabout? Sheesh! I remember having to navigate it on a push bike fifteen years ago and it was a nightmare. ISaidThis
  • Score: 1

2:22pm Fri 28 Feb 14

martint235 says...

With the exceptions of the Dartford Crossing and Blackwall tunnel, I've done all these on a pushbike fairly recently (Yorkshire Grey, daily along with Catford one way system). Fiveways is the only one that really bothers me, it is a stupidly designed junction (almost as bad as Bellegrove Road/Welling High St/Hook Lane).

Point of note to the editor though regarding Bexleyheath. Right of way rarely exists (in the HC, I think it's used once to describe a pedestrian already crossing a road that a car is turning into), it is instead priority. And priority always lies with the pedestrian regardless of the situation. It may be a red man but they still have priority (all the red man does is advise against crossing and in the event of an accident a portion of blame will be assigned to the ped for ignoring advice). I know car drivers think they own the road but that couldn't be further from the truth.
With the exceptions of the Dartford Crossing and Blackwall tunnel, I've done all these on a pushbike fairly recently (Yorkshire Grey, daily along with Catford one way system). Fiveways is the only one that really bothers me, it is a stupidly designed junction (almost as bad as Bellegrove Road/Welling High St/Hook Lane). Point of note to the editor though regarding Bexleyheath. Right of way rarely exists (in the HC, I think it's used once to describe a pedestrian already crossing a road that a car is turning into), it is instead priority. And priority always lies with the pedestrian regardless of the situation. It may be a red man but they still have priority (all the red man does is advise against crossing and in the event of an accident a portion of blame will be assigned to the ped for ignoring advice). I know car drivers think they own the road but that couldn't be further from the truth. martint235
  • Score: 0

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