By James Mayer, local democracy reporter
The Hammersmith Bridge will reopen to cyclists, pedestrians and river traffic from 9am tomorrow.
The bridge has been closed for almost a year due to fears it would collapse – leading to a possible catastrophic loss of life.
The bridge was closed completely in August 2020 after Hammersmith and Fulham Council engineers found worsening cracks in the structure, due to a number of severe heat waves.
Now, a temperature control system has been introduced, helping to prevent cracking in the bridge’s 19th century cast iron pedestals.
In April 2019, the bridge was closed to motor vehicles on public safety grounds.
The council is considering a double-decker engineering solution developed by world-leading architects Foster + Partners and bridge engineers COWI which would see a temporary framework laid over the existing decking, saving £40m while potentially cutting three years off the current timetable.
The proposal would also allow sections of the bridge to be removed and taken downstream by barge and repaired off-site.
Councillor Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said: “Safety is always the top priority, but residents who live on the south-side of the river, particularly in Barnes have been borne the brunt of this closure.
“They have been cut off from work, school, vital services and transport links for almost 12 months, and while Richmond Council put measures in place to support them, it has taken its toll.
“I hope that this good news will provide some relief as we can now look forward to Hammersmith and Fulham Council progressing with the full restoration.”
Cllr Stephen Cowan, leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, added: “I know how difficult the last eleven months have been for people, particularly children needing to cross the river to get to school and those who need to attend medical appointments or get to work.”
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