Two statements from the Taskforce

The Hammersmith Bridge "Taskforce" met on 20th July, and issued a statement. They were pleased that the bridge had been reopened on 17th July. They also - slightly ominously - said:

The Taskforce is keen to maintain momentum. LBHF is working, with support from DFT, on producing a business case on the preferred engineering solution so the bridge can be reopened permanently to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic and eventually to motorists. Also, LBHF has sought an expert engineering opinion on the repair options for stabilisation and strengthening the bridge and confirmed it would share the preferred stabilisation option with the Taskforce members next week.

So they still say they are aiming to reopen the bridge to cars, which is worrying.

You can read the whole statement here.

The "Taskforce" issued a further statement on 22nd July, partially to give themselves a pat on the back for supplying £4m to fund the safety survey of the bridge.

The funding of £4 million for emergency mitigation works was provided by the government as part of its extraordinary funding and financing package agreed with TfL on 31 October 2020. £2.3 million funded the blast cleaning with the remaining funding paying for the residual stress analyses and chain knuckle investigations.

The works have now been completed and enabled the reopening of the bridge in a limited and controlled way on 17 July 2021.

Then a bit of blurb about funding, which includes this disappointing paragraph:

DfT, TfL and LBHF will now work to develop and agree a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on our agreed next steps and respective funding contributions. This will show our shared commitment to fixing this problem – and in the long-term – to reopening the bridge to motor vehicles.

It is hugely disappointing that they want to reopen the bridge for motor vehicles. This will mean a return to traffic jams on the bridge and its approaches, increased pollution in the area around the bridge, danger to people on bikes and on foot, and - obviously - no improvement in congestion elsewhere.

Amazingly, they are still going ahead with the ferry!

TfL continues work to establish a temporary ferry for pedestrians and cyclists. As part of the latest extraordinary funding agreement of 1 June 2021, government has continued its funding commitment to enable TfL to provide the Hammersmith ferry service, alongside local contributions.

TfL has announced that Uber Boat by Thames Clipper will run the ferry. The precise timeline for the service being operational is dependent on the necessary approvals being given by the consenting authorities such as London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, the Port of London Authority and the Marine Management Organisation.

I mean, I'll probably take a ride on it, but I wouldn't use it every day when I can just walk or bike over the bridge.

Unfortunately, they haven't yet ruled out the terrible proposal for a double decker temporary bridge by Foster and Partners...

Other temporary crossing proposals are also being considered including those which help with traffic congestion. Foster + Partners and COWI have presented their vision for a temporary truss structure to the taskforce. LBHF subsequently commissioned a feasibility study into this potential approach. In partnership with LBHF, our engineers have reviewed the study. If deemed feasible and acceptable to LBHF, the borough will need to incorporate this into the business case.

This would be disastrous for the bridge and the approaches for a long way either side; an unsightly double decker structure, with long ramps at either end, purely so that people can drive over the bridge again. There is absolutely no need for this; let's hope it's deemed neither feasible nor acceptable.

The link to all this may change, but it can currently (23rd July) be seen at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hammersmith-bridge-taskforce

Posted on 23rd July 2021

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