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.
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’.
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.