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Hammersmith Bridge could become a toll bridge in order to fund much needed repair work.
The Thames crossing closed suddenly to motor traffic in April 2019, due to 'critical faults' in its structure. It has remained open to pedestrians and cyclists, while cars and bus routes have been diverted.
The bridge was built 132 years ago and was never intended to bear the weight or volume of modern traffic.
No repair work has yet begun, and no plan is in place to reopen it, as it remains unclear whether TfL or Hammersmith & Fulham Council is responsible for the costs of the work.
Meanwhile, Stephen Greenhalgh — Conservative party member, former Hammersmith & Fulham council leader, and current wannabe Mayor of Hammersmith & Fulham — has put forward the suggestion of taxing bridge users to pay for the repairs.
Writing on the Hammersmith and Fulham Forum, Greenhalgh suggests introducing "road user charges" if that's what's necessary to get bridge open again. He suggests borrowing the money, and recouping it via charges levied on cars — and buses, if TfL doesn't contribute to the repairs — at a suggested rate of 50p per vehicle.
It's no secret that TfL's finances are in peril at the moment, so contributing to the repair of the bridge is unlikely to be top priority. However, it's worth pointing out that neither TfL nor Hammersmith & Fulham Council has expressed any plans to introduce tolls.
While the idea may not appeal to modern day motorists, the original Hammersmith Bridge charged a toll when it opened in 1827.