From the LBHF website: "Following detailed investigation by a team of world-leading specialist engineers, Transport for London and Hammersmith & Fulham Council have agreed the works needed to repair Hammersmith Bridge.
"The first stage of the work has now begun – and TfL has provided £25million to pay for it.
"TfL and H&F Council are continuing to explore the most appropriate funding for the next phase of construction, ahead of the planned award of a contract for the next stage of the works next spring. The work is expected to take approximately three years."...
"Early stage estimates indicate the work could cost £120m, although as this is purely early estimates it includes a contingency due to the unknowns, complexities and challenges inherent in repairing such an aged, Historic England listed structure. Engineers will continue to refine this estimate as the project progresses. TfL and H&F Council are continuing to explore the most appropriate funding route for the main construction."
Here's the full story on the LBHF website: https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/articles/news/2019/09/work-begins-repair-hammersmith-bridge
Whatever happens to the bridge, it will obviously need to be repaired to some extent. It would be foolish to simply leave the existing cracks and hope for the best.
But it seems crazy to spend £120m just to return the bridge to the same state as before, with over 20,000 cars and buses crossing it every day. We could be so much more imaginative - it's become a very popular pedestrian and bicycle route already, and we could develop this idea to turn it into an exemplary car-free crossing over the river.
And the fact that this would cost a lot less than £120m would just be a bonus.
Of course, lots of people will grumble about this and say that it increases traffic and pollution elsewhere. But if you look at the total amount of traffic in this corner of London, it has decreased - see here and here. And the fact is that if London's air quality is to be improved, then it must be made harder and less convenient for people to drive cars. The bridge will be closed for years anyway, which gives us all plenty of time to get used to it and find better ways to get around than driving a car.
Posted on 3rd September 2019