Council bosses have approved a £6 million funding package for a new programme of ‘stabilisation works’ on Hammersmith Bridge in London that they claim will reduce the need for future closures.
Highways Magazine reports that Hammersmith and Fulham leader Stephen Cowan signed off on the spending after engineers Mott MacDonald presented the new scheme. The previous plans to stabilise the 130-year-old bridge was estimated at around £30 million.
The bridge remains closed to traffic, and a full repair has been estimated to take over six years to complete. However, the bridge had reopened last month to cyclists and pedestrians after a year of being shut down due to fears it could collapse after years of unchecked corrosion was discovered.
The partial reopening had been made possible due to a ‘short term fix’ of temperature controls to prevent cracks in the bridge’s fragile cast iron structure from getting worse. However, engineers have warned that a long term solution is needed, and more extensive stabilisation work is urgently required to prevent it from being closed down again.
The council said it expects to keep the bridge open to pedestrians and cyclists for the vast majority of the duration of the works, but added that there may be short programmed periods of closure to allow some works to take place safely.
Mr Cowan said: “Having reopened the bridge to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic earlier this month, we are keen to press on with the next phase of work.”
The works will take an estimated 46 weeks, and the costs of a full restoration are still being negotiated between the council, the government, and Transport for London (TfL).
Transport commissioner Andy Byford has said motorists could be charged a toll of £3 to help pay for the upkeep.
Cllr Cowan said the council will fund the work upfront and hope to reclaim one-third of shares from the Government and TfL in line with an earlier offer from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
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