Government sets up taskforce to reopen Hammersmith Bridge

The Government has set up a taskforce to get Hammersmith Bridge reopened as quickly as possible.

The taskforce will be led by Transport Minister Baroness Vere and will include representatives from Network Rail. Though it is a road bridge not a rail bridge, Network Rail has experts familiar with similar cast-iron structures.

Hammersmith and Fulham council had been working with Transport for London, which provided £25m for expert investigations into the state of the bridge.

The Government said the minimum aim was to get the bridge quickly reopened to pedestrians and cyclists but also to other traffic in the longer term. But there was no mention of specific funding in yesterday’s announcement.

The bridge first closed in April last year to vehicles – but was kept open to cyclists and pedestrians – after cracks were found in its cast iron structure.

But the situation worsened recently when the cracks widened during the summer heatwave, forcing it to be fully closed due to the fear of a failure.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said today: “When it comes to the Hammersmith Bridge there has been a lack of leadership in London on re-opening this vital bridge. It’s stopped Londoners moving about easily and caused huge inconvenience to everyone, adding extra time to their commute or journeys.

“We won’t let hard-working Londoners suffer any longer – the Government is setting up a taskforce establish the next steps in opening the bridge as speedily as possible. We’ll be decisive and quick to make sure we can take steps that’ll be good for commuters, good for residents and good for business.”

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