Protest Against Hammersmith Bridge Closure

If you feel strongly upset by the way Hammersmith Bridge has been closed to all traffic and are inconvenienced by it, there is a protest rally being organised on both north and south sides of the bridge on Thursday (3rd September) at 5.00 pm.

The Broken Bridge Broken London campaign group has already accumulated hundreds of people on a WhatsApp group and on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/groups/507440140087966/ .

Local residents feel they are being badly let down by politicians of all colours because there is a very good proposal for a temporary bridge on the upstream side, from specialist marine engineers Beckett Rankine, which have been on the table since March. The cost would be just a few million pounds and it would take just 2-3 months to erect but local politicians won’t consider it seriously and the government is not offering to pay, despite Greg Hands and Grant Shapps promising to take action if elected. (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_purI1mldc and https://lnkd.in/dcAWgYK ).

If you are sympathetic to the cause, please share this and support the postings on social media.

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Air Pollution in Islington, Finsbury Square Car Park, Rotherhithe Bridge and Hammersmith Bridge

This article contains a summary of some recent news on transport issues of interest to Londoners.

Islington Air Pollution

First London air quality is a hot topic of late and it’s interesting to look at an “Air Pollution Update” published by Islington Council (see https://tinyurl.com/qljusdl for the full report but a few key points follow).

On PM2.5 particulates it reports steady falls from 2010 to 2016 so that road transport now only supplies 28% of the total. Commercial cooking is a larger proportion and has not declined at all while there are lots of other contributors. As regards NO2 which is the other emission that people are concerned with even though the proof that it is dangerous is quite limited, this has been falling sharply since 2005-2007. It might now be half what it was on the latest figures – see chart below from the report.

Islington NO2 Emissions

These declines are probably similar in other London boroughs and air pollution will continue to decline from road transport including cars due to tougher vehicle standards. The Mayor of London’s imposition of a wider area ULEZ is simply not justified.

Finsbury Square Car Park

Those who have worked in the City might be aware that there is an underground car park operated by NCP under Finsbury Square. It has a bowling green and an area of grass on top which is used by City workers in the summer, but it is generally a bit run down with abandoned petrol stations still there. But now there are plans to redevelop it. What the redevelopment might contain is not clear as the plans have not been made public. It would certainly be a pity if one of the few car parks in the City is lost.

Rotherhithe Bridge or Ferry

We have previously covered the proposals for a bridge (cyclists/pedestrians only) across the Thames at Rotherhithe. This was an enormously expensive project for little benefit and received many local objections. TfL have now announced they are progressing the design of a ferry crossing instead. See https://tinyurl.com/tx5zutf for more information, but it’s still only for cyclists and pedestrians, and the economics are not yet disclosed.

Hammersmith Bridge

The closure of Hammersmith Bridge is creating lots of difficulties for residents of West London. It has been suggested that a temporary road bridge be put in place while the listed bridge is being repaired, at a possible cost of £5 million, but it seems there is little support for that idea. Instead TfL is proposing a temporary walking and cycling bridge. This would be a seven-metre wide, prefabricated steel structure. See https://tinyurl.com/st8s7m4 for more information and to give your views. But it will hardly solve the traffic congestion problems that are otherwise going to last for some years.

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The Latest On Hammersmith Bridge

Hammersmith Bridge in west London has been closed since April due to critical safety problems. This was a key part of the road network in west London and was used by 20,000 vehicles per day including many buses. There has been discussion between TfL and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham on what to do about the bridge, and it could cost as much as £120 million to restore the bridge to support previous traffic levels, or even more if it was substantially reinforced.

Construction work may not start until 2021 and it might take 3 years to complete so it looks like local residents will have to put up with the closure for some considerable time. However there is one alternative which gives a better solution. That is to build a temporary bridge alongside the existing one. This might only cost £5 million and could be put up very quickly. See https://tinyurl.com/y4fyrjwj for an article in the New Civil Engineer for more information. The Mayor says it is seriously being considered.

I am sure all readers will support prompt action on this matter, and a commitment to fund the projects. But note that tolls may be imposed on the bridge to fund the work required.

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Hammersmith Bridge Closure

Hammersmith Bridge 2

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).

Roger Lawson

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