Hammersmith Tunnel Report Pictures Life Without The Concrete Flyover

By M@ Last edited 50 months ago
Hammersmith Tunnel Report Pictures Life Without The Concrete Flyover

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.13.10

If you live, work or regularly pass through Hammersmith, here's a document you'll want to read. It's a feasibility study from Hammersmith and Fulham Council into whether it makes sense to knock down the notorious flyover in favour of a tunnel. The flyover had to close for emergency repairs in 2011, and decisions must be made on whether to maintain the concrete structure or use the opportunity to do something more radical.

The report sets out the pros and cons of the nascent flyunder scheme and looks at two options: a short cut-and-cover underpass on the flyover's current footprint, or a much longer tunnel from Chiswick to Earl's Court.

Either scheme would free up land for the development of new homes, businesses and open space, knitting back together the riverside and Hammersmith town centre. The flyunder would greatly reduce local noise and particulate pollution. And, under one model, it could be part-financed by sale of the recaptured land to a developer.

A view of the reclaimed space around St Paul's church looking east.

On the downside, it would involve at least three years of local disruption, public funding of some degree and, in the case of the longer tunnel option, could divert extra traffic onto local roads (anyone who needs to turn off somewhere between Chiswick and Earl's Court).

Another section of the report shows the results of a recent public consultation. 89% of those asked agree or strongly agree with the council that the flyover should be replaced with an underpass. Of those undecided or against, some were unsupportive because they lacked enough information on which to base a decision, while a few contrarians wanted to preserve the flyover as a 'beautiful structure'.

Artist's impression of the tunnel portals.

It should be noted that the report is only a preliminary feasibility study, bridging the gap between the initial proposal and a detailed engineering and environmental study, but carrying no weight in formal decision making. However, it's written in impeccably clear English, and serves as a useful primer for anyone with an interest in the area and its future. Read it here.

See also: we got an engineer to describe the structural problems with the Hammersmith flyover.

Last Updated 18 March 2014

Boris Watch

Are the buggers putting out a press release, or something? Second website in the last half an hour I'm having to write a correction of some suspiciously similar nonsense on.

"Either scheme would free up land for the development of new homes, businesses and open space,"

Not really, the long tunnel option frees some A4 land, but is also nonsense on traffic terms (you have to keep a major road on the surface for about 50% of the traffic that can't use the tunnel, which requires a major motorway junction in the middle of Chiswick to join it to the tunnel). The short tunnel is on the current A4 flyover route, which is entirely over existing roads apart from the section past the church which you'll notice isn't built up due to, er, being too close to the church. If you remove it you've still got the road under it and that can't be developed unless you put the traffic somewhere.

The actual bulk of the development isn't on the line of the flyover at all, but is supposed to be around the Ark and around the south side of King St., mostly mostly by large scale demolition but partly by narrowing the current road from Hammersmith Bridge to the gyratory. Unfortunately none of the options say exactly how they plan to do this without large scale traffic restraint (TfL claim there's going to be 14% more traffic by 2031, for instance, which hardly squares with removing half the gyratory).

There's quite a bit more left unsaid - the budget involves just burying the road, not removing the flyover or reshaping the surface road network or even buying the private land required for redevelopment, which is a bit of an oversight.

The most obvious bit of nonsense in the scheme is the tunnel portal locations. Ignoring the Chiswick-Earls Court scheme because it's unworkable (although it's apparently the one Boris thinks is the front runner) the 'option 1a' plan is for a big trench behind the Town Hall (not shown on the nice pictures, that one) and another one smack across Gliddon Road (always shown in the wrong place on the pictures), severing Baron's Court station from the area north of it. There would be three years of savage traffic disruption requiring large scale traffic restraint across the whole area, which leads to the question 'why not just do that permanently and free up roadspace that way?'.

In short, it's PR based on glossing over some very bad assumptions to try and make the scheme look serious while ignoring some fairly major problems with it.

Massage London

Oh gosh, this would look so much better! The flyover looks like there was no planning involved at all!

concerned London resident

The flyover bridge is good for another 50 years given normal maintenace of it (like any other bridge). The huge cost destroying it 50 years early then drilling a huge hole underneath Hammersmith is insane and the public will be paying for it for decades. Boris and local council back it because it will generate short term, greedy developer cash for government to tax and sell land to. Government cares about what's built on it? I doubt it ... look forward to more luxury flats and tall offices. Green areas don't make any money (notice how green is the main colour used in the government sponsored propoganda pictures ... don't hold your breath to smell those roses). I have been shocked about the amount of propoganda being pumped out by the local council in and around Hammersmith on this ... they even told primary school children to draw pictures of how great Hammersmith would be with out the flyover and exhibited in Lyric square. Terrible.