Council Dismiss Suggestions Hammersmith Bridge Could Close Permanently

TfL director says leaving it as a cycling and pedestrian bridge is an option

Hammersmith Bridge

There has been an angry response from Hammersmith and Fulham (H&F) council to the suggestion that Hammersmith Bridge might not be repaired and could permanently closed to motorised traffic.

During a conference organised by New Civil Engineer, TfL director of project & programme delivery Nick Fairholme said that a number of options had been drawn up for the bridge.

He said one of those three options was to leave the bridge as it currently is and not proceed with repairs. He is quoted on the New Civil Engineer web site as saying, “If there is public support for leaving it as a pedestrian and cycle bridge then we will have to consider that.”

Pro-cycling groups have argued that leaving the bridge as it is with only pedestrian and cycle access would encourage more sustainable travel.

Mr Fairholme also outlined two other options which were to carry out a partial repair to allow the bridge to carry the weight of single decker buses or a full repair. He said that the latter would be a ‘very expensive’ option. He did not give a figure but the New Civil Engineer web site states that it ‘understands the total cost of a full repair could be as much as £100million with work estimated to take around three years’.

Mr Fairholme is quoted as saying, “First and foremost it is important to stress that even though the bridge is owned by Hammersmith & Fulham [council], we [TfL] don’t want to lose it.

“Unfortunately the bridge is in a poor state. However, we do believe that it is cost effective to reopen it. We believe it can be reopened, however it is not going to open overnight.”

A statement by Hammersmith & Fulham Council referring to a report in the Evening Standard based on the item on the New Civil Engineer web site said, “You may have read claims in the Evening Standard that Hammersmith Bridge may be closed for good. That is simply not true. The Standard’s editorial also makes a series of unfounded and factually incorrect claims.

“So, to put the record straight and reassure the residents and businesses affected by the current works on the bridge, we confirm that both H&F Council and Transport for London (TfL) are working closely together to re-open the bridge to motorised traffic as soon as possible - which our world-class, specialist engineers advise will be within three years.”

It also describes the figure of £100million as ‘bizarre’ and said that it was a number invented by a journalist.

July 15, 2019