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Row halts Hungerford Bridge work

A FURIOUS row has erupted between London Underground and Cross River Partnership, builder of the £30M Hungerford footbridge, over new piling restrictions which have forced work on the bridge to stop until a solution is found.

The row centres on LUL's fear that its Tube tunnels are at risk from buried unexploded World War Two bombs. These risk being detonated by the piling work being carried out by Costain/Norwest Holst for the bridge foundations up to 15m away.

Studies carried out by the Royal Engineers for LUL identified a risk of bombs buried up to 12m in the river bed. This puts them very close to the Bakerloo and Northern Lines below Hungerford Bridge which could be breached in an explosion. .

But CRP claims this new restriction had only just been imposed by LUL. A spokesman told NCE: 'Further restrictions have been imposed on the bridge in the post Paddington and Southall climate, which will cause considerable extra cost'.

But LUL hotly disputed that it had changed its position. 'All risks were highlighted in 1997, ' said LUL chief engineer Keith Beattie. 'They have left it a bit late to start worrying now.'

Ordnance disposal expert Bactec has been called in to use downhole magnetometry to check for bombs at each pile location. 'We are 99.9% sure that the area is clear of bombs, ' said managing director Guy Lucas.

But this confidence is not shared by LUL. 'We are waiting for CRP to demonstrate categorically that there are no risks to the Underground. So far we have had no formal submission, ' said Beattie.

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