Heatwave: Hammersmith Bridge fully closed following safety concerns

Vincent Wood
·1-min read
Paddle boarders approach Hammersmith bridge as they participate in the Laureus Stand up for good Thames Challenge on the river Thames in London
Paddle boarders approach Hammersmith bridge as they participate in the Laureus Stand up for good Thames Challenge on the river Thames in London

West London's Hammersmith bridge has been fully closed following safety concerns after a crack in the infrastructure appeared to have been worsened by the ongoing heatwave gripping the country.

The suspension bridge - the capital's first when it was opened in 1827 - is set to remain closed until engineers confirm it is safe to reopen, as will pedestrian underpasses on both sides of the river.

Boats will also be unable to pass underneath the green landmark, with council officials saying recent days of heat had exacerbated pre-existing damage to the bridge - which is crossed by 16,000 people daily.

So far Transport for London has provided £25m to pay for the restoration of the bridge after it was assessed in 2019 - however it is expected a full renovation could cost as much as £140m.

Cllr Alexander Ehmann, Chair of the Transport and Air Quality Services Committee for Richmond Council, said: "We fully support the decision to close Hammersmith Bridge on safety measures. Safety must come first.

"Richmond Council believes that the safety of all residents must be our number one priority.

"However, what was urgent before is now an emergency. A critical piece of London’s infrastructure cannot be allowed to crumble into the Thames, while the government and London mayor wrangle over responsibility for the funding.

"With a potential repair bill of £140m, the Government are the only credible funding mechanism. They must now act in the public interest and supply the long-overdue funding to ensure the bridge can be saved."

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