Hammersmith Bridge will be closed for the Boat Race on Sunday 29 March. The bridge is always a popular spot from which to watch the race, but Hammersmith & Fulham Council says it’s not safe to take the weight of the amount of people attracted by it.
The bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic for almost a year and Transport for London plans to build a temporary crossing for pedestrians and cyclists, construction of which, subject to planning permission, should be started this summer. But there is still no clarity about where the money will come from to do the necessary repairs.
TfL has committed £25m for investigation as to what needs to be done. They say this figure will also cover the cost of the temporary crossing for pedestrians and cyclists. TfL and Hammersmith & Council have put in a joint bid to central Government to pay for the cost of the actual repairs. So far Transport Ministers have not been encouraging.
Conservative London Assembly member Tony Devenish said the Boat Race closure showed why the bridge needed to secure funding for repairs immediately.
“With pedestrians and cyclists unable to use the bridge at the end of the month, there can be little doubt that this situation is getting worse, not better,” he said. “This development will not only come as a massive disappointment to all those who were looking forward to watching the Boat Race, it will also raise concerns about the future of our bridge.”
The bridge was closed by Hammersmith and Fulham council after it found structural faults including cracks in the iron work last year.