It's been revealed in yet another astonishing twist in the Hammersmith Bridge saga, that the crossing may never be re-opened.
According to the Evening Standard, a senior Transport for London (TfL) engineer said that the structure may remain open for pedestrian and cycle traffic only, as the repair bill nears the £100m mark.
It is one of three options which have been suggested, with the other two being a limited repair initiative, allowing single decker buses over the bridge, or a complete restoration of the 132 year old, Joseph Bazalgette built cast-iron bridge.
The listed bridge, which is owned by Hammersmith and Fulham Council, has been closed since 10 April after critical faults were discovered in the structure.
TfL’s director of project and programme delivery, Nick Fairholme, told a conference: “Though the bridge is owned by Hammersmith & Fulham, TfL don’t want to lose it. Unfortunately the bridge is in a poor state. However, we do believe that it is cost-effective to reopen it. We believe it can be reopened, however it is not going to open overnight.”
Mayor Sadiq Khan, along with TfL, have said that a decision on the future of the bridge will be announced next month.
Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, took to Twitter to say: "We know the closure of Hammersmith Bridge is frustrating for locals, so we've asked TfL to work with H&F council to plan how to restore it ASAP. Until this work is complete, we don't know the exact costs - but our ambition has always been to re-open it to motor traffic.”
It is believed that Council sources have said that repairs were expected to cost around £40m and that keeping it shut to traffic is not an option, whilst Tory MP for Chelsea and Fulham, Greg Hands stated that the bridge must be reopened.
It is estimated that, should a repair take place, the bridge will reopen fully in three years.
Image Source: Pixabay