Hammersmith Bridge ferry plans scrapped

Plans for a temporary ferry service at Hammersmith Bridge have been scrapped, after the Hammersmith Bridge taskforce decided it was no longer necessary.

The proposal to link Hammersmith and Barnes by boat has taken so long to implement that the taskforce, led by Transport minister Baroness Vere, said the ferry service was now ‘unlikely to be needed.’

The bridge reopened to pedestrians and cyclists in July, effectively removing the need for a ferry. Plans for the ferry were at an advanced stage before being axed, but were almost a year behind schedule.

Planning applications had been submitted to build temporary piers on both sides of the river and Uber had been lined up to ferry passengers across the Thames at £1.55 per trip. Each trip would have taken around 90 seconds.

The Hammersmith Bridge SOS group have supported the decision.

Transport minister Baroness Vere, who chairs the Hammersmith bridge taskforce which includes the Government, Transport for London and Hammersmith and Fulham council, Tweeted on Wednesday (24 November):

“The bridge remains open to pedestrians + cyclists & it’s clear a ferry service is very unlikely to be needed. The decision was therefore ratified for TfL to cease preparations for a ferry service at this time.”

Image above: Hammersmith Bridge – photo by Matt Smith

Residents fear another closure amid row over funding

The bridge first closed in April 2019 to motorists, and then also to pedestrians and cyclists in August 2020, amid fears it was at risk of collapsing.

Full repairs for the bridge remain unfunded and residents in Barnes fear being cut off from central London again if it has to close once more to enable additional works to take place.

Hammersmith and Fulham council expects to complete stabilisation works to the bridge in less than a year, at a cost of £6m, which it says is £24m less than previously thought.

H&F Council leader Stephen Cowan told BBC London that fixing the bridge is expected to cost £141 million but politicians cannot agree on where the money will come from.

The bridge belongs to LB H&F Council but councillors want the Government, TfL, and Richmond Council to help with funding. Cllr Cowan said LB Hammersmith & Fulham cannot afford the Government’s suggestion that the council pays a third of the repair costs.

Cllr Cowan added he has had sleepless nights over the bridge and the council’s budget has dropped by around £60 million since the Tory-Lib Dem coalition in 2010.

Details of the council’s latest plans are here.

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See also: TfL confirms OneChiswick has withdrawn legal challenge to Cycleway 9

See also: Extensive roadworks planned for A316 Great Chertsey Rd

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