By Jacob Phillips, Local Democracy Reporter
Motorists could be charged £3 to cross Hammersmith Bridge in order to pay for its repair.
The 134-year-old cast-iron bridge was closed to all users in August 2020 after cracks in its structure worsened during a heatwave.
Hammersmith and Fulham council has now suggested a toll should be introduced to help finance its share of repairs.
On July 28, councillors explained if they do not receive more financial support from the Department for Transport and Transport for London, they will have to impose a toll.
Councillor Max Schmid told a financial committee: “If the government absolutely insists that they are not going to fund it we are only left with the option of a toll.
“The fact that a civil servant assigned [the bridge] to Hammersmith and Fulham because it has the word ‘Hammersmith’ in it. It’s ridiculous that Hammersmith and Fulham is being asked to pay such a high amount.”
Up until April 2019, Hammersmith Bridge carried 22,000 vehicles a day.
The toll would not charge Hammersmith and Fulham residents but visitors would have to pay each time they crossed the bridge.
A consultation has now been launched to see how effective a toll would be and whether it would raise enough money.
Bridge owner Hammersmith and Fulham Council has said it could cost up to £163 million to fix the bridge.
The cost is likely to be shared between the DfT and TfL but the council is yet to come up with an agreement on how much it will need to pay.
DfT recently suggested the council should pay a third of the costs for the bridge.
So far the council has spent £8.6m on the bridge’s repairs.
The authority has now commissioned a study with the transport bodies to find out how much money could be made from the poll.
Hammersmith bridge reopened to pedestrians and cyclists on July 17 with an air conditioning system to prevent the cast iron from cracking further.
The council has also suggested the ownership of the bridge should be transferred into a charitable trust.
It had previously been suggested the crossing would not fully re-open until 2027.
Hammersmith and Fulham council leader Stephen Cowan said: “We believe a toll and possibly charitable trust that is dedicated just to looking after this bridge, that keeps it in perpetuity as something to admire but importantly as something to use for hundreds of years to come is the essential way forward.”
The DfT and TfL have been contacted for comment.
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