Hammersmith Bridge will not fully reopen to traffic until 2027, a task force has revealed.
The 133-year-old bridge was shut completely in August after cracks in all four pedestals helping to hold it up worsened during a heatwave. Motorists have not been able to cross since April 2019.
During a meeting of a committee set up to get it reopened, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, who leads it, said they were ‘looking at six and a half years’ for the repairs to be finished.
The project’s director estimated it would take four months to assess the state of the pedestals, seven months and £13.9 million to carry out emergency stabilisation work, and a further 21 months and £32 million worth of permanent stabilisation work.
Traffic would only be allowed back on following strengthening work lasting another 30 months at an estimated cost of £80 million.
London’s deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander questioned ‘whether some form of toll may be required’ to allow the council to borrow against future income and make the bridge financially viable.
Julia Watkins, 51, lives in Barnes and her children attend school across the river.
She told the Evening Standard of the announcement: ‘These long delays means children as young as six are having to cycle eight miles a day.
‘Old people are having to pay £40 a time for taxis to reach hospital for regular appointments. Businesses are collapsing and ambulances can’t reach us.’
The Government says on its website: ‘Discussions between stakeholders on financing any interim measures and bridge stabilisation work have been constructive and are ongoing.
‘The taskforce wishes to see a resolution to this as quickly as possible to ensure that Londoners can quickly and safely cross and use the river.’
Hammersmith and Fulham Council, along with Richmond Council, believe the cost of reparations should be met by the Mayor of London and Transport for London.
But TfL says the Government first needs to sign off on funds for the entire project.
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