Hammersmith & FulhamNews

Government preference is for cars to eventually be allowed back on Hammersmith Bridge

By Ben Lynch, Local Democracy Reporter

Transport Minister Huw Merriman has said the Government wants to see Hammersmith Bridge reopened to ‘all forms of traffic’, after campaigners made their latest call to repurpose the crossing and ban motor vehicles.

Mr Merriman however added the decision will ultimately be made by the owner of the bridge, Hammersmith and Fulham council.

The local authority says on its website that the crossing will be ‘fully reopened to cars, buses and motorcyclists’ following further repair works, which will need to be part-funded by a toll.

Hammersmith Bridge has been shut to motor vehicles since 2019, when micro-fractures were discovered in its pedestals. It has since been reopened to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic.

On Monday, the Government announced it is providing £2.9 million for a new cycle lane on the bridge. Hammersmith and Fulham installed a temporary lane in February, though this is due to be removed in the next month or so.

Mr Merriman said: “We’re very pleased to be able to assist when it comes to the new cycling provisions. We saw that opportunity and we said that we would fund it and we look forward to that being opened in the time to come.”

The closure of the bridge to motor vehicles means that drivers needing to cross the river must either use Putney Bridge to the east, or Chiswick Bridge to the west.

Since the crossing has shut, the council has sunk more than £30m into maintaining it and preparing it for further works, with the Government also investing £13m.

Progress has stalled however, with the Government yet to approve a business case submitted by the local authority last year.

Hammersmith and Fulham says it will need to introduce a toll if it is to fund its share of the estimated £250m bill, which the Government wants to split three ways between the council, Transport for London (TfL) and national taxpayers.

Hammersmith and Fulham council has been approached for a comment.

Pictured top: Huw Merriman, Transport Minister and Conservative MP for Bexhill and Battle (Picture: Parliament UK)

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