Call by former local councillor for drivers to be charged to use Hammersmith Bridge as council looks

It's been revealed on the Hammersmith and Fulham Forum that Hammersmith Bridge could be turned into a toll crossing, in order to fund major repair works.

The 132 year old bridge was closed to traffic in April 2019 after major structural defects had been identified, rendering the bridge unsafe.

The bridge has remained open to cyclists and pedestrians, while all other vehicular traffic has been diverted to other routes, creating chaos in the surrounding areas as motorists look to cross the Thames. 

No repair work has begun yet, as Transport for London and Hammersmith and Fulham Council battle it out to devolve responsibility to each other, with funding being the stumbling block.

However, former Hammersmith & Fulham council leader and Conservative party member, Stephen Greenhalgh has suggested that Hammersmith Bridge should become a toll-crossing to help pay for the structural works.

Mr Greenhalgh has said he would look at two options; either full repair and restoration of the existing bridge so it could take modern transport, with repairs taking around 2-3 years and giving the bridge an extra 30 years lifespan and maintaining its listed status, or modification and replacement by installing an independent structural deck which would take the same length of time as the full repair and restoration option and could give the bridge an extra 60 years lifespan. 

The cost of the two options would be similar according to bridge architectural experts. 

Mr Greenhalgh went on to suggest that the toll would be 50p to cross the bridge by car. This would allow Hammersmith and Fulham Council to fund the project and then recoup the costs.

This wouldn't be the first time that a toll has existed on Hammersmith Bridge. When the very first crossing at Hammersmith opened in 1827, a toll was levied, and while the idea may not appeal to motorists, there is a precedent there. 

In the meantime both TfL and Hammersmith and Fulham Council have stated that there are no plans to introduce a toll at the moment.

Image Source: Flickr

Image Author: George Rex

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