Hammersmith Bridge closed ‘indefinitely’

West London bridge closed ‘indefinitely’ after faults found

Hammersmith bridge closed to vehicles 'indefinitely'.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

A historic bridge in west London has been closed to traffic after "critical faults" were discovered in the structure.

Hammersmith Bridge, which opened in 1887, closed on Wednesday over safety concerns.

Cyclists and pedestrians can still use the Grade II* listed bridge but it will be closed to motorists "indefinitely", the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham said.

The council blamed government cuts for the closure.

A statement said: "We have a fully tested plan to refurbish the bridge and we're ready to start work. But, due to government budget cuts, Transport for London (TfL) says it can no longer fund the planned refurbishment. This is a huge disappointment.

"Regrettably, we've now been left with no option but to close the bridge indefinitely until the refurbishment costs can be met.

"So we're supporting TfL's call for the government to invest in this vital river crossing and national monument - so we can get on with the work and reopen the bridge."

The issues were discovered during a weekly safety check carried out by the council, which said diversions are in place for buses and other traffic.

The bridge has been closed several times in recent years because of structural issues.

The Department for Transport has been approached for a comment.

In January, motoring research charity the RAC Foundation warned that the maintenance backlog for council-owned road bridges in Britain has increased by a third in just 12 months.

Analysis of 2017/18 data revealed an estimated £6.7 billion is needed to ensure all the structures are up to scratch.

This is up from £5 billion in 2016/17.

Some 3,177 bridges in the worst condition have been categorised as "substandard", meaning they are unable to carry the heaviest vehicles.

Many of these structures are subject to weight restrictions, while others are under programmes of increased monitoring or even managed decline.

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