Concerns that Fulham Traffic Restrictions will Add to Putney Chaos

Calls made for Hammersmith & Fulham Council to suspend them all

Lee Roberts on Wandsworth Bridge

May 19, 2023

There are growing calls from the Putney area for Hammersmith & Fulham Council to suspend all traffic restrictions in the Fulham area which some believe will add to the likely chaos when Wandsworth Bridge closes on 24 July for ten weeks.

The current ANPR controlled access restrictions for the ‘South Fulham Clean Air Neighbourhood’ allow residents of the borough on the north side of the river to pass through side streets between New Kings Road and Wandsworth Bridge Road. However, non-borough residents will receive a Penalty Charge Notice if they pass cameras set up in the area.

Much of the traffic that previously crossed Wandsworth Bridge is now anticipated to divert across Putney Bridge. However, many of these vehicles will now be using New Kings Road as opposed to Wandsworth Bridge Road and there are concerns that it will be unable to cope with the extra traffic leading to tailbacks back over the river at Putney.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is planning to suspend the Clean Air Neighbourhood camera in Imperial Road (southbound) during the closure. Drivers crossing over Putney Bridge will be allowed to use the New Kings Road and then turn right down Bagley’s Lane, along Imperial Road and then Townmead Road to get to the southern section of Wandsworth Bridge Road. To return they will have to enter New Kings Road from Wandsworth Bridge Road.

One resident of Putney contacted us to say, “Originally when I heard of the closure, I thought it wouldn’t affect me as I cross via Putney Bridge not Wandsworth Bridge on the bus. However, much of the displaced traffic, as well as needing to cross Putney Bridge, will also be forced to use the New Kings Road which has been slower moving since the implementation of the traffic measures in South Fulham. Anyone needing to get to a point east of Wandsworth Bridge Road potentially faces a much longer journey on a road that can be static at rush hour. Perhaps, it won’t be as bad as I fear but I’m braced for significantly increased journey times. While I'm completely on board with the principle of people being protect from drivers rat-running past their homes, nobody benefits if bus services become unusable.“

Transport for London (TfL) says it has not yet decided on how buses in the area will be diverted but it is thought likely that routes such as the 28, 295 and C3 will run over Putney Bridge for the duration of the closure. Concerns have been raised that this will have a knock-on effect on routes in the area which already use Putney Bridge, for instance the 424.

Lee Roberts, Conservative Parliamentary Spokesperson for Putney has called for Hammersmith & Fulham Council to remove all the restrictions when Wandsworth Bridge closes to motorised traffic.

Mr Roberts said, “Given the huge level of disruption this will cause Hammersmith & Fulham Council needs to do more. They really could be suspending the all the LTN restrictions to help minimize the impact the closure of this vital crossing will cause.”

The Traffic Camera Consulting Group, a group of Fulham residents which has campaigned against the council’s traffic restrictions, is also calling for their complete suspension during the closure of Wandsworth Bridge.

Opponents believe traffic is being displaced to New Kings Road
Concerns that New Kings Road will be blocked by displaced traffic. Picture: Twitter/@cameratraffic

The current phase of repair works began on Monday (15 May) when the northbound cycle lane and southbound bus lane were closed. Buses, vehicles and bicycles will still be able to cross the river in both directions until the main phase of works begins.

The 83-year-old structure is to close so essential repairs can be carried out after checks on the bridge revealed some of its weight-bearing parts need to be replaced.

.Wandsworth council leader Simon Hogg said, “These works are essential to protect the bridge, ensure it remains safe to use and keep it open in the long-term. Our primary objective is to get this necessary job done as efficiently and quickly as possible so there is the least amount of disruption possible to residents.”

He added, “Unfortunately a repair job on this scale to an important river crossing means some degree of disruption is unavoidable, and we are sorry for the inconvenience it will cause, but we have worked hard to keep this to the absolute minimum. We have also ensured the bridge will remain open to pedestrians and people who ride bicycles throughout the works.

“We are giving people as much advance warning as we can ahead of July’s closure so that they have plenty of time to plan alternative routes or look at using other forms of transport to get across the river.”

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