From New Civil Engineer:
Hammersmith & Fulham Council leader Stephen Cowan has played down government assertions that Hammersmith Bridge could soon reopen to pedestrians and cyclists.
In a strongly-worded statement, Cowan criticised the Department for Transport's (DfT's) Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce for sharing inspection reports with the press before the council or the council’s bridge maintenance contractor Mott MacDonald...
...“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,” Cowan said.
You can hardly blame Stephen Cowan for being cautious. The Government's Taskforce is urging LBHF to reconsider the seriousness of the cracks found in August, and to reopen the bridge.
But supposing the worst happened, and the bridge actually did fail? Would Baroness Vere herself take the blame? I suspect that she'd be pointing her finger at Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
Let's not forget that LBHF have been blamed by many for the cracking of the bridge, even though it has taken many years to develop, following years of neglect by councils of both political parties. It's only because the council decided to check the bridge that a potential disaster might have been averted.
Posted on 15th December 2020