Limited reopening of Hammersmith Bridge?

New government-commissioned reports raise prospect of limited reopening of Hammersmith Bridge

Reports recommend that London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham reconsider their full closure of the bridge

From Gov.uk:

  • government publishes expert reports on Hammersmith Bridge’s safety
  • reports state that London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) should look again at whether a limited reopening is possible
  • Baroness Vere calls on LBHF, following the findings, to redouble efforts towards reinstating pedestrian, cycle and river traffic as soon as safely possible

Read the whole article on Gov.uk

So it looks as though LBHF are being asked to look again at the risk assessments for the bridge, and to consider whether it can be reopened for pedestrians and people on bicycles to cross, and for boats to go underneath.

There's a bit of work to be done first: two remaining pedestals need to be blast-cleaned to check for cracking. But it raises the prospect that people will be able to cross the bridge again before too long.

This makes the rather crazy double-decker idea unnecessary, and may even rule out the ferry (that probably isn't going to happen anyway - at least, not 24/7). So it's pretty good news.

And once people can cross the bridge on foot or bikes, there's no real need to go much further - except, hopefully, to let buses cross as well.

UPDATE

There's a full statement about the announcement on the LBHF website. Please click here to read the statement.

From LBHF:

“The suggestion that the bridge could be reopened to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic, with little money spent on safety measures, has been the Government’s consistent position in Taskforce meetings over past months. Our response has been to ask if they would take on the legal responsibility for such a decision, but they have consistently refused to do so...

...“The Government’s Taskforce met today at 11am. However, its members were only sent the papers which included first sight of the Fleck and Aecom reports at 10.23am today and after media reports appeared. It’s fair to say that a number of Taskforce members questioned the Government Taskforce’s Chair, Baroness Vere, about the professionalism of sending papers so late while spinning the story to the media well beforehand.

“During the Taskforce meeting, government advisers confirmed the government had released the Fleck and Aecom reports before waiting to consider the imminent conclusions of engineers Mott McDonald who are undertaking the latest review. Nor did they put their own papers to the CCSO. This appears to be subject to political interference – something that has consistently hindered progress."

So it doesn't look like things are going well between the Taskforce on the on hand, and Hammersmith and Fulham on the other. As ever, political shenanigans are getting in the way of actual progress.

Regardless of which side you take politically, I think we can all agree that we are all sick of the bridge being used as a political football by the two sides. All we want is to be able to walk and cycle (and hopefully bus) across the bridge again.

Posted on 10th December 2020

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