Drivers and bus passengers looking forward to the reopening of Hammersmith Bridge could be in for a serious blow, as it's been revealed that the bridge may never open to motor vehicles again.
Since April, only pedestrians and cyclists have been able to use the the west London Thames crossing, due to critical faults in the structure. Cars, buses and other motor vehicles have been diverted via alternative routes.
In May, it was suggested that the 132-year-old crossing could become a toll bridge in order to fund the repairs — a cost that has reportedly become something of a disagreement between TfL and Hammersmith & Fulham Council, who cannot agree who should foot the bill.
Now, New Civil Engineer reports that TfL director of project & programme delivery Nick Fairholme has suggested the bridge may remain closed to motor vehicles for good.
At New Civil Engineer's Future of Roads conference, Fairholme revealed three options currently being mulled over for the future of the bridge:
- Leaving it as it currently is — a cycling and pedestrian bridge — permanently.
- Carrying out a partial repair, which would mean weight restrictions on vehicles able to use the bridge — so no double decker buses.
- Carrying out a full repair — an expensive option, and one unlikely to happen anytime soon.
If there is public support for leaving it as a pedestrian and cycle bridge then we will have to consider that.
A decision is due to be made in August 2019.