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Bearing with closure Refurbishment of historic Hammersmith Bridge is entering a critical phase. Dave Parker reports from site. Photographs by David Jones.

On Thursday 20 August Hammersmith Bridge will close to all traffic for 11 days. After months of near closure and controversy over the bridge's long term future and the implications for traffic congestion in west London, the most complex operation in a two year refurbishment must be completed in time to reopen at 6am on 31 August - albeit with continuing traffic restrictions. There will be many watchful eyes monitoring progress, and controversy is unlikely to end afterwards.

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