Government setting up task force to restore Hammersmith Bridge
9 September, 2020 / by Matt Smith
The Government has announced it will set up a task force to oversee the restoration of Hammersmith Bridge.
On Wednesday 9 September, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “When it comes to the Hammersmith Bridge there has been a lack of leadership in London on re-opening this vital bridge.
“It’s stopped Londoners moving about easily and caused huge inconvenience to everyone, adding extra time to their commute or journeys.
“We won’t let hard-working Londoners suffer any longer – the government is setting up a taskforce to establish the next steps in opening the bridge as speedily as possible.
“We’ll be decisive and quick to make sure we can take steps that’ll be good for commuters, good for residents and good for business.”
The Government said that the “minimum” aim of the task force is to get the bridge reopened swiftly to pedestrians and cyclists – with vehicular traffic some time the future.
There was no mention in today’s announcement of funding – with interim safety measures to enable a partial reopening of the bridge estimated at £46m and full repairs costing as much as £141m. What is known is that The Department for Transport will commission its own engineers to take over the project.
The decision comes after months of arguments between the Government, Hammersmith and Fulham council and Transport for London about who will pay for the necessary repairs.
Image above: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Hammersmith Bridge
Closed for over a year
Hammersmith Bridge has been closed to motor traffic since 10 April 2019. The bridge’s closure was extended to include pedestrians and cyclists on 13 August 2020 after the structural issues worsened. River traffic and pedestrian routes under the bridge have also been stopped. The decision was made after more cracks had appeared in the structure of the bridge, possibly due to the high temperatures over the previous few weeks.
A recent petition demanding the Government either funds repairs for Hammersmith Bridge or pays for a new bridge entirely has received more than 15,000 signatures since being posted on 2 September.