Council exploring ways to raise around £120 million for full restoration
Hammersmith & Fulham Council have announced that work to repair Hammersmith Bridge is finally set to begin.
After months of negotiations on how the project was to be funded Transport for London (TfL) and the Council have agreed the works needed. These are to be based on detailed investigation already undertaken by a team of specialist engineers.
TfL have provided £25m towards the cost for the first phase of construction. TfL and H&F Council are continuing to explore the most appropriate funding for the next phase, ahead of the planned award of a contract for the next stage of the works next spring. The work is expected to take approximately three years.
Early stage estimates indicate the work could cost £120m, although as this an early estimates which includes a contingency due to the unknowns, complexities and challenges inherent in repairing such an aged, Historic England listed structure. Engineers will continue to refine this estimate as the project progresses.
“Hammersmith Bridge is not only a beautiful example of innovative 19th-century British engineering, it’s also a vital 21st-century river-crossing,” said Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. “It can be made fit for purpose for generations to come. That’s what we’re doing and we’re focussed on getting the bridge reopened to cars and buses as quickly as possible.”
“This comprehensive structural review was the first in decades. It has revealed corrosion and significant failings throughout the 132-year-old suspension structure that, had they been allowed to continue unchecked, would have been a threat to public safety.
“I am grateful to Transport for London and the Mayor of London for their help with designing this scheme, and for working closely with us to get the bridge fully and quickly restored.”
He also thanked Cllr Gareth Roberts, the Leader of Richmond Council, and his team, for their “constructive approach”.
Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, added: “We now know that Hammersmith Bridge needs serious restoration work following many years of heavy traffic usage. And I am pleased that Hammersmith & Fulham Council and TfL have found a way forward in funding part of the repair work. Over 2,000 local people and businesses from Richmond upon Thames told us in a recent survey that they are keen for the bridge to be repaired and reopened as soon as possible and whilst people will have to bear with the situation for a little while longer, the works will ensure that the bridge is future-proofed for many more decades.”
Cllr Paul Ellis, Wandsworth cabinet member for Transport said, “This is indeed welcome news – especially for the people and businesses of Putney who have had to shoulder much of the displaced traffic that has resulted from the closure.
“I am pleased that a repair plans appears to have been agreed and that TfL have set aside £25m to get the project up and running.
“However, there is at this stage no indication as to how the rest of bill will be paid. Although repairs may now be about to start we need some further clarity and reassurance that there will be the money available to see the job through.
“What we need is some solid commitment, particularly from Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which owns the bridge, that the project will not run out of cash before the work is complete.”
Once completed, the refurbishment will enable cars and buses, including the heavier electric single-deckers to cross the bridge. But to prevent future damage, TfL will continue to limit the flow of buses on and off the bridge.
September 3, 2019