Hammersmith Bridge in west London has been closed “indefinitely” by the local Council after safety checks revealed “critical faults”. This Victorian bridge was never designed for modern traffic, particularly heavy buses, and has been falling into disrepair for some time.
The local council (Hammersmith & Fulham) and Transport for London (TfL) blames lack of funding to repair the bridge and in particular cuts in Government funding. Financing major bridge repairs would normally be the responsibility of TfL so they are clearly the ones to blame. The Government says they have given billions of pounds in funding to TfL so it’s not their fault. In other words, everyone is trying to make political capital out of this management failure.
Hammersmith Bridge is a key part of the road network and there is a legal obligation on the local Council under their Network Management Duty (see the Traffic Management Act) to keep it open. But local councils only have very limited funding for transport projects and rely on TfL for major projects.
The estimated cost of the required work to repair the bridge is £11 million. Meanwhile TfL is planning to spend at least £400 million on a new pedestrian/cyclist only bridge at Rotherhithe. Surely TfL have their priorities wrong?
Residents who wish to complain should complain to Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, because he heads TfL, and also to the local council. However Labour controlled Hammersmith & Fulham Council have known about the problems with this bridge for many years but done nothing (that Council has responsibility for the bridge).
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