LHR T3 gridlock

Old Sep 7, 17, 6:21 am
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LHR T3 gridlock

A BA forum may not be the most appropriate place to post this but as I arrived on a BA service there is a link albeit tenuous.

Gridlock refers not to airside, but landside. Arrived T3 shortly before 22.00 last night. Remote stand, not quick with steps or de-planing etc. not the best way to arrive but insufficient to warrant a grizzle here. In fact passport control was a breeze.

The real issue was exiting the carpark. Or rather, not exiting. Complete gridlock caused, so one is led to believe by closure of half of the tunnel. Took almost an hour from getting in car till reaching the perimeter road. Would have taken longer but for the skill of the driver and some lucky breaks.

Can anyone confirm whether this mayhem is a regular event or did I just get unlucky? If it is regular then it is absolutely material to a 'who to fly with' decision. Sitting in a lounge somewhere waiting for a late service is inconvenient but given it's the back end of the day it is understandable and reasonably acceptable. Sitting in a car on arrival going nowhere and surrounded by stressed out and increasingly ratty drivers is absolutely not.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 6:27 am
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I've experienced this level of grid lock a few weeks ago, but during the day - mid afternoon. It took me around 90 minutes from reaching my car on level 4 of the T3 short stay to getting to the other side of the tunnel.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 6:41 am
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Severe congestion bordering on gridlock around the central terminal area was a reasonably regular occurrence when the tunnel work was ongoing a year or so ago and there were temporary traffic lights around the entrance/exit of the Central Bus Station - I certainly had one occasion where it was clear nothing whatsoever was getting in or out, and in the end it was quicker for me to take the tube to T5, then get on a bus to go directly back to my Bath Road hotel to avoid the tunnel (so a diversion of about 4x the original distance).

I've not seen it recently, however - so it sounds like you were probably just a little unlucky.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 6:43 am
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Also had bad traffic getting into T3 on Saturday August 26th, and that was at 7.30am.

Fortunately the mytaxi driver (hat-tip to Raffles) was adept at cutting in and we were going to drop-off rather than the car parks, which is where the problem appeared to be, so we were ok Jack, but others must have been queuing for ages.

Edit: and it might have just been because it was a bank holiday weekend, but it was pretty slow.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 6:54 am
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Originally Posted by G-ARVE View Post
Can anyone confirm whether this mayhem is a regular event or did I just get unlucky? If it is regular then it is absolutely material to a 'who to fly with' decision.
It's neither regular nor irregular - it's not usually more than 1 night a week. The tunnel is known to regulars as HVT, Heathrow Vehicle Tunnel, or sometimes the Heathrow Spur Tunnel, linking the M4 and A4 (Bath Road) to Heathrow terminals 2 and 3. There are separate West and East tunnels for north and southbound traffic. There was a big 85 million refurbishment project that ended earlier this year but every so often they close one tunnel or the other for cleaning and other maintenance, forcing two lanes down to one in the process. There are some big vent devices that need to be checked regularly.

The problem is the corner of the T2 building, where the lane switching means there is a bottleneck at a particular set of traffic lights, it's not usually so bad at the A4 end. It also backs up the bus egress too, much to the frustration of airport staff after a 12 hour shift.

On the nights when this happens, the tunnels are closed at 22:30 hrs and re-opened at 05:30 hrs (sometimes a bit before).
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Old Sep 7, 17, 7:13 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
It's neither regular nor irregular - it's not usually more than 1 night a week. The tunnel is known to regulars as HVT, Heathrow Vehicle Tunnel, or sometimes the Heathrow Spur Tunnel, linking the M4 and A4 (Bath Road) to Heathrow terminals 2 and 3. There are separate West and East tunnels for north and southbound traffic. There was a big 85 million refurbishment project that ended earlier this year but every so often they close one tunnel or the other for cleaning and other maintenance, forcing two lanes down to one in the process. There are some big vent devices that need to be checked regularly.

The problem is the corner of the T2 building, where the lane switching means there is a bottleneck at a particular set of traffic lights, it's not usually so bad at the A4 end. It also backs up the bus egress too, much to the frustration of airport staff after a 12 hour shift.

On the nights when this happens, the tunnels are closed at 22:30 hrs and re-opened at 05:30 hrs (sometimes a bit before).
They seriously can't get this done between like 12:00 and 4:00?
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Old Sep 7, 17, 7:23 am
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Originally Posted by sts603 View Post
They seriously can't get this done between like 12:00 and 4:00?
From a passenger perspective it would be a lot less likely to have an impact even if it meant two days of closure rather than one - for the very few passengers still around at midnight the chances (and any duration) of congestion would be a lot less. I guess the problem is that the 22:30 hrs allows a full shift of work rather than half a shift, and in the construction industry a half shift generally costs the same as a full shift.
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