Hammersmith Bridge in West London has been forced to close indefinitely after ‘critical faults’ were discovered.
London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, which is responsible for the bridge, gave little details of the latest revelation except to say the faults were discovered during weekly inspections, triggering safety concerns and the bridge’s indefinite closure.
The beleaguered Grade II bridge has long been in need of strengthening, and has had severe speed and weight restrictions in place while a longer term major refurbishment plan was sought. Work was scheduled to begin on site late last year.
Political rows over funding appear to have contributed to the closure. In a statement, the council blamed government cuts.
“We have a fully tested plan to refurbish the bridge and we’re ready to start work,” Hammersmith & Fulham said. “But, due to government budget cuts, Transport for London (TfL) says it can no longer fund the planned refurbishment. This is a huge disappointment.
“Regrettably, we’ve now been left with no option but to close the bridge indefinitely until the refurbishment costs can be met. So we’re supporting TfL’s call for the government to invest in this vital river crossing and national monument – so we can get on with the work and reopen the bridge.
Consultant Mott MacDonald detailed its extensive testing work to New Civil Engineer over a year ago – this work was to inform the council in deciding on the full refurbishment plan.
Much of the structure is original, with the cross girders, the majority of the hangers and suspension chains all dating back to 1887. The foundations for the bridge were built for a previous bridge on the same site and date back to 1827.
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