Hammersmith Bridge in west London is being assessed for possible bridge strengthening works after Transport for London (TfL) said it wanted to route double decker buses over the structure.
The bridge currently has strict weight restrictions of 7.5t and a recent report by Hyder said some strengthening works would be necessary for the 18t load bearing necessary for double decker buses. It said there was some current over stressing, but this was a first stage assessment and it recommended further assessments.
“The council and TfL will continue with preparatory work at the bridge ahead of a major scheme of improvements due to start in late 2017,” said Hammersmith and Fulham’s cabinet member for environment, transport and residents’ services councillor Wesley Harcourt.
“This work will assess whether double decker buses would be able to use a newly-strengthened bridge, improving public transport routes and increasing capacity. The improvements will include an improved road surface for cyclists, new pedestrian walkways and the installation of better lighting. The bridge itself will also be fully repainted, restoring it to its former glory.”
Currently one single decker bus is allowed on the bridge at a time because of its weight bearing capacity. Last week Hammersmith and Fulham Council threatened to close the bridge to buses when it was found this restriction had not been adhered to.
“We learned yesterday (1 September) that Transport for London had removed its bridge wardens who were ensuring only one bus crossed the bridge at a time. This was TfL’s responsibility and was in clear breach of the agreements put in place to protect the bridge and those who use it. This was simply not acceptable,” said Harcourt.
“H&F Council gave TfL 24 hours to comply with the one-bus rule. We made it clear that we would be left with no option other than to close the bridge to buses if they did not comply. Within an hour of us making this position clear, TfL had returned the bridge wardens to their duties on Hammersmith Bridge, and apologised to the council for their removal. TfL have undertaken to keep the bridge officers in place, and the council will be monitoring this to ensure that they remain in place.
“It remains the case that there are no issues concerning the structural integrity of Hammersmith Bridge under its current weight restriction.”