Three years of misery and no end in sight…
On 10th April 2022 it will be three years since Hammersmith Bridge was closed to all vehicles. Three years of untold suffering for the sick and elderly, for young children trying to get to school. Three years of extra congestion and pollution on the neighbouring bridge approaches. And there is no sign of it ending.
Although stabilisation works have been undertaken, there is still no agreement to fund the full repair of the bridge between the government, TfL and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (LBHF). “This is shocking and deplorable,” said Helen Pennant-Rea, Chair of Hammersmith Bridge SOS. “This is a major route in a great world city, and it is blocked. The lack of commitment is shameful.”
Hammersmith Bridge opened in 1887 and is Grade 2* listed. It has suffered from structural issues over a long period and the authorities have continually failed to put in place proper financing to fully repair it. Because there has been no long-term plan for its repair, the bridge has been closed several times since 2014 for varying periods, culminating in total closure to vehicles in April 2019.
The government has announced it is making just under £3 million available for the latest stabilisation works. However, it has not confirmed it will provide funding for the full repair - despite having set up a Task Force in 2020 with a remit to bring all parties involved together and agree a way forward.
The Task Force failed to do this and has not even met for some time. “We can’t see any reason why the government cannot pledge now to providing the funding. It seems that political differences between the government and LBHF have got in the way of good sense and improving people’s lives. We are calling on the government to firmly agree to fund the full repair,” said Pennant-Rea.
Because of the delay, it’s unlikely the bridge will fully reopen to traffic for at least another four years. We urge LBHF to allow a shuttle minibus service and emergency services to operate across the bridge. Hammersmith Bridge SOS is campaigning for limited use of the bridge for this purpose, and is seeking to hold the government, TfL and LBHF to their promise to fully repair the bridge and reopen it to all traffic as soon as possible.
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