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BBC: Hammersmith Bridge closed because cracks in pedestals

From the BBC:

Hammersmith Bridge has been closed because of cracks in its pedestals, the footings which support the structure, it has been revealed.

In April, Hammersmith and Fulham Council said it had "no choice" but to shut the bridge to motorised traffic.

It has also emerged that engineers were monitoring the bridge when crowds congregated on it to watch the boat race - five days before it was shut.

Transport for London has been approached for comment.

Read the full article on the BBC News website Opens in a new window

Our comment: the reason for the closure of Hammersmith Bridge to cars is that its structure has actually failed. The cracks that have been found are the result of metal fatigue, caused by the constant movement inherent in a suspension bridge's design.

It's not a question of funding and who should (or should have) provide it, as a lot of people have claimed. The simple fact is that the bridge was not designed to carry 20,000 cars and over 1,000 buses a day. Even if it is repaired and re-opened to motorised traffic, the same problems will happen again, because that's how a suspension bridge works.

It's all very well organising petitions to have the bridge re-opened (as three local politicians have done). It will make absolutely no difference: even if the bridge is to be re-opened to traffic, it will still take two or three years. It would be better not to make it into a political football, and to seize this opportunity to create a safe, person-friendly crossing over the river instead.

Posted on 24th May 2019

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