Hammersmith Bridge Still 'Violently Shaking'

Council says sensors continue to monitor structure after residents raise concerns

Hammersmith Bridge remains closed to motor vehicles
Hammersmith Bridge remains closed to motor vehicles. Picture: Darren Pepe/Reach PLC

Hammersmith Bridge is still ‘violently shaking’ as restoration works begin at the weekend.

A resident reported to Hammersmith and Fulham Council that the bridge was “violently shaking” over the weekend despite roughly £18million already being spent on the historic structure.

The council now agrees that a toll would be necessary to fully protect the 135-year-old bridge for the next 100 years.

Speaking at Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s cabinet meeting leader Stephen Cowan said, “If anyone wonders how dangerous the bridge was, even over the weekend an email was sent by a resident who was crossing the bridge and it was shaking violently.”

He added, “I have had nightmares about Hammersmith Bridge on far too many occasions over the past three years.

“By 2019 we found that the bridge was not at all strong and suffered a serious risk of imminent collapse.

“These words will ever resonate in my mind because the catastrophe it would have brought about would have been stark.

“It was only because of the unique nature of the bridge and the series of ongoing investigations that we were able to get to the bottom of this.”

The bridge is currently covered in cameras and sensors to ensure that the bridge is safe to cross and the council is constantly monitoring it.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council have previously debated introducing a £3 toll on the Victorian bridge. Residents and emergency services would not have to pay to cross it.

Speaking about the chances of a toll Stephen Cowan told his cabinet, “This is Britain’s most expensive bridge to fix. We do not want our legacy to be that administrations for decades to come are shackled by very large costs.

“As a £161 million bill is met by only the residents of the borough, or by a third of it is met by the residents of this borough and that is why we are still arguing very fiercely that Hammersmith and Fulham’s contribution must be by a toll.”

Restoration works finally began in February when new plans by specialist engineers Mott MacDonald were unveiled.

If all goes well the bridge may be stable by as early as November but the bridge may not fully re-open until 2027.

The old bridge first closed in April 2019 after it began to crack under the weight of vehicles passing through. Up to this point, the bridge had 22,000 cars a day pass over it each day.

It has not been reopened to cars or buses since and a number of plans, including an Uber Boat, have been suggested to help passengers cross the river easily.

The council is expected to foot a third of the bill, matched by Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport.

Jacob Phillips - Local Democracy Reporter

March 8, 2022