Ministers have announced a multimillion-pound funding package for vital restoration works to Hammersmith Bridge, as government confirms it will fund one third of the costs to stabilise the structure.
The announcement is a landmark moment in the bridge’s history. Almost £3 million will be injected into the project by ministers, so it remains permanently open to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic. This comes ahead of further strengthening works to open it up to motorists and takes total government funding for the bridge’s restoration to nearly £7 million.
The government has been pivotal in ensuring the bridge was reopened to cyclists, pedestrians and river traffic in July 2021, after it was shut in 2019 following the discovery of cracks in its pedestals.
Previous government funding of £4 million went towards immediate mitigation works to the structure, which involved blast cleaning and inspections to its pedestals, helping ensure there were no long-term risks to its reopening.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Today, I’m giving Londoners reassurance this government will do everything in its power to keep this vital, historic structure open.
“We’re investing millions into its restoration, ensuring local residents can continue to cross the river by foot or bike and I look forward to working further with the local council on future works to reopen the bridge to motorists.”
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “This is an incredibly important day in the long history of Hammersmith Bridge.
“Following an enormous amount of work by engineers, government, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and TfL, I can confirm we will be injecting millions of pounds into its restoration, so it stays open to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic.
“We will not lose momentum. Work is already underway to ensure the structure is reopened to motorists as soon as possible and returned to its former glory.”
After over a year of delay with sorting out the bridge, the government injected fresh impetus by setting up a special Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce in September 2020, bringing together all parties to discuss both long-term and temporary solutions – this has now delivered on its promise.
The release of today’s funding, which amounts to £2.93 million, comes after ministers approved the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham’s business case.
Engineering firm Mott MacDonald will carry out the stabilisation works, which will involve the use of elastomeric bearings, allowing any pressure to be applied equally to all 4 corners while protecting the vulnerable cast-iron structure.
Pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic will still be able to use the bridge throughout the duration of these works, with stabilisation expected to take less than a year to complete.