Hammersmith Bridge has been closed to traffic ‘indefinitely’ due to safety concerns.
Shortly after the annual Boat Race, during which hundreds of pedestrians lined up to cheer their chosen team up the River Thames, the bridge was closed at short notice by Hammersmith and Fulham Council on 10 April. Due to faults found in the bridge’s infrastructure, and for the safety of the public, Hammersmith’s iconic bridge will be closed ‘indefinitely’, until costs of refurbishment can be met.
Hundreds of daily journeys by heavy buses and other vehicular traffic cause regular distress to the bridge. The council agreed with TfL in 2015 that they would only run one bus in each direction at one time, while they developed a longer-term strengthening plan. But the damage has now reached a critical point so the council said they had no alternative but to put the safety of the public first and close the bridge.
The closure is a major inconvenience to Barnes, Mortlake and East Sheen residents who now have to travel via Putney or Chiswick bridge to get across the river.
According to the council, the 132-year-old bridge was never meant to carry modern traffic and the companies running transport services regularly break the rule of only having one TfL bus cross the bridge at a time. The estimated cost of repairs has risen to £40 million and H&F council have asked the transport secretary, Chris Grayling to to give TfL money to fund the repairs.
TfL has said that although it is not their responsibility to repair the bridge, they will work with the council to identify a plan to help. The bridge is still open to pedestrians and cyclists, and bus routes 33 209 419 485 and 609 now start and terminate at Lonsdale Road. These buses are unable to serve stops between Hammersmith Bridge and Hammersmith Bus Station. Bus 72 is diverted via Chiswick Bridge.
For more information, visit TfL.