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Q&A with LBRUT, LBHF and TfL

There was a Q&A session at St Michael and All Angels Church in Elm Bank Gardens tonight. In fact, there were two sessions, because the meeting was so over-subscribed.

After presentations by both councils and Transport for London, the meeting was opened up to questions from the floor.

The key points I noted were:

  • Although a show of hands indicated that most people want the bridge to be reopened to motorised traffic, the main concern was the recent changes to bus routes by TfL. The alterations to the 209 and 72 routes, in particular, have annoyed residents. The TfL spokesman said that they were considering further changes, but any change can take 4-6 weeks to implement because they have to negotiate with the bus companies.
  • Hammersmith and Fulham are trying to start an electric buggy shuttle service across the bridge. They hope to do this within 3-4 weeks. They have been hampered by the shortage of suitable vehicles, such as golf buggies. Only two firms in the country actually make suitable vehicles.
  • LBHF are trying hard to allow ambulances to cross the bridge. Interestingly, the emergency services say that the closure of the bridge hasn't affected their response times.
  • All of those involved would like to allow single-deck buses (which weigh 9.5 tonnes) to cross the bridge. However, double deck buses, at 19 tonnes, would be too heavy.
  • I was cheered to hear that "restoration to Victorian splendour" doesn't necessarily mean going back to 20,000 cars a day. The number of vehicles may have to be limited in the future. The use of tolls to pay for repairs wasn't ruled out.
  • Various other fanciful schemes were discussed, such as building a second bridge, demolishing and replacing the bridge, selling the bridge to the USA and building a tunnel under the river. This last suggestion comes from LBHF and was presented as a serious proposition.
  • LBHF are currently surveying the bridge, and this will finish in August. After that, they will be able to give more details on the costs and timescales of repairs.

The answers to many questions can be found on the Hammersmith & Fulham website.

And don't forget, there is a consultation on LBRUT's website about the bridge, which must be answered by 16th July.

Tonight's meetings were recorded on video, and, if you have a spare hour and a half, you can watch the first session below. (There's an excellent question by Charles Campion at 51:30.)

And here's the second session...

Posted on 19th June 2019

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