More than 1,000 pieces of bespoke steel have been welded together into support frames for the final phase of the stabilisation of Hammersmith Bridge.
The steel was imported in 29 giant sheets which were shipped to the UK late last year, following delays caused by the war in Ukraine.
The sheets were then cut into 1,220 pieces and welded together in a factory in Middlesbrough to make the support structures. The work has been overseen by our world leading engineers. The steel frames are set to be fitted onto the saddles, where the bridge’s chains are attached.
Once the steel frames are fitted, the team will jack the saddles up and replace the corroded seized bearings.
This will be the final part of the stabilisation works, which we expect to be completed in late spring. Then engineers will carry out repair work to the surface and decking, before looking to reopen the main carriageway to cyclists.
The delay of the steel has not impacted the timetable for the full restoration works, with procurement due to start in April.
Hammersmith Bridge, built in 1887, is one of the world’s oldest suspension bridges which is why it is also one of Britain’s most expensive to repair.
It is a Grade II* listed structure made out of wood and wrought iron with the suspension chains held in place by cast iron pedestals. It is part of Britain’s engineering heritage and a national landmark.
So far, the stabilisation work has been completed with minimal possible impact on pedestrians and cyclists using the bridge, which has remained open throughout.
Cllr Sharon Holder, H&F Cabinet Member for Public Realm, said: “The stabilisation works are demonstrating British engineering at its finest, delivering innovative solutions for our wonderful heritage bridge.
“To expedite the full restoration works at pace, we continue to fund the project upfront in good faith and at risk rather than wait for the Department for Transport and TfL’s governance processes to sign off on their one-third shares. We, of course, anticipate that their shares will be subsequently reimbursed.”