'Urgent' move by H&F Council is causing bus diversions and traffic delays
Hammersmith & Fulham Council has announced that Hammersmith Bridge has been closed indefinitely this Wedneday (10 April).
The 'urgent' closure has been made because of safety concerns after the council's weekly safety checks revealed critical faults.
Putney Bridge is one of the designated diversion routes and already there has been an increase in traffic particularly in the Barnes area.
Following the council's decision, TfL says bus routes 33, 72, 209, 419, 485 and 609 are on diversion or stopping short of their destination.
The council says in its announcement: " We have no choice but to shut the bridge. We’re sorry we couldn’t give you more warning."
There has been speculation for some time about the delayed major refurbishment, originally planned to begin last year, of the 130 year-old Grade II listed bridge, as reported in February by the Barnes Bugle's Sarah Arthur.
Now, in this latest announcement, the council says, "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.
"Hammersmith Bridge is a Grade II* listed, 132-year-old, structure. It was never designed for modern traffic. Hundreds of daily journeys by heavy buses cause regular distress to the bridge. That’s why we agreed with TfL in 2015 that they would only run one bus in each direction at one time, while we developed a longer-term strengthening plan. But this damage has now reached a critical point.
"Closing the bridge is not a decision we’ve taken lightly and we know it will inconvenience many people. We’re sorry for that disruption, but we must put the safety of the public first.
Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to cross. Diversions are in place for motorists, including the seven bus routes which use the bridge. Details of bus diversions can be found on the TfL website.
The council adds: "We’ll keep you updated with progress in our campaign for funding."
April 12, 2019