Hammersmith Bridge ferry service ‘still planned for spring’

By Owen Sheppard, Local Democracy Reporter

Engineers hired by Hammersmith and Fulham council have indicated that Hammersmith Bridge should remain fully closed until costly stabilisation works have been completed.

A report by Mott McDonald, released yesterday, also says the extent of the damage to its four cast iron pedestals is not yet fully known and requires further investigation.

It is the latest twist in a war of words between the council and the Department for Transport (DfT) over what should be done with the bridge.

Much of the disagreement boils down to who will pay what share of the estimated £141 million repair bill, which includes £40 million of stabilisation works.

In December, the DfT released evidence from its own engineers, AECOM and Professor Normal Fleck, and claimed stabilisation may not be necessary to allow pedestrians and cyclists to use the crossing.

The 134-year-old, grade II*-listed landmark was closed to pedestrians and cyclists in August during a heatwave that saw its iron pedestals deteriorate further. Cars and buses were barred in April 2019 when cracks were first discovered.

A summary of Mott McDonald’s findings said: “The most recent MM report provides a good deal of evidence to suggest that the north-east pedestal is likely to be stable.

“However, that does not provide the degree of certainty required to reintroduce pedestrians in the short term because the necessary degree of independent checking has not been applied.

“Amid the plethora of detail there is the simple position that Hammersmith and Fulham council, AECOM and Prof Norman Fleck all agree upon – remedial works must be undertaken to restore any meaningful use of the bridge.”

The DfT was approached for comment.

A schedule for when the service could be operational has yet to be confirmed, although officers are still aiming for a date in the spring.

The bridge task force is expected to resume its regular meetings this month.

Pictured top: Hammersmith Bridge

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