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Frequently Asked Questions

Updated September 2021

What is the latest update?


On 1 June, the latest extraordinary TfL funding deal was announced, which set out an agreement that the Department for Transport (DfT), TfL and LBHF would work together to develop a memorandum of understanding in relation to funding the project. The DfT also outline its plan to split the restoration works into two seperate parts: stablisation and strengthening. Stablisation refers to the restoration of the Bridge such that it can re-open to pedestrians and cyclists, while strengthening refers to the work required such that motor traffic can once again cross. On 17 July, the Bridge re-opened to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic following a series of comprehensive safety investigations along with the successful introduction of an innovative temperature control system that helps prevent cracking. The Board for the Case for the Continued Safe Operation (CCSO) of Hammersmith Bridge, the body which provides safety advice to the Council about the Bridge, has however stressed that these arrangements are only temporary measures and are not a substitute for permanent repair. On 16 August, LBHF announced it has approved an £6m plan to permanently stablise the Bridge, with works completing in under a year. They are now in discussions with DfT as to how this would be funded, per the cost-sharing arrangement. LBHF have also announced that it has appointed an engineer to consider the two current options for the strengthening and restoration work. This includes an existing TfL plan and the Fosters + Partners/COWI proposal for a temporary double decker truss. Despite recent encouraging developments, there remains work to be done. There are thousands of residents across my constituency and South West London who cannot acess active travel and therefore need some kind of route across the River. I am therefore continuing to urge the Taskforce to expore all possible avnenues such that a solution can be achieved for those with mobility issues.




Instead of fixing the old bridge, wouldn’t it be better, quicker and cheaper to replace it with a new bridge?


In September 2021 I met with Historic England to find out more about the Bridge’s Grade II* listed status. Overall I was reassured to hear that they have and continue to be constructive and collaborative partners in the pursuit of a long-term solution. While these are no doubt extraordinary circumstances and the Bridge is an aging structure, they are clear that from a technical standpoint, they have no reason to believe that it cannot take modern traffic patterns. Rather, it is a case of ensuring the Bridge is repaired in the correct way, technically-speaking, and that enough money is assigned to repair it. They also explained that on the question of destroying the Bridge and constructing a new one, the financial cost would be the same.




Can the army be drafted in to build an emergency bridge?


Richmond Council and I wrote to the Ministry of Defence, Royal Engineers and REME in September and we are yet to receive a response despite chasing for one. We can only assume they are leaving the project in the hands of the Department for Transport who have now set up a dedicated taskforce.




Where can I find the latest news from the Hammersmith Bridge taskforce?


You can find the latest news from the taskforce here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hammersmith-bridge-taskforce. In addition, I send out a weekly Hammersith Bridge update, which you can sign upto by emailing office@saraholney.com.




Are you a member of the taskforce and if not, who is representing the needs of Barnes and Sheen residents?


No Members of Parliament were invited to be part of the taskforce. Our representative in those forums is Councillor Gareth Roberts, Leader of the London Borough of Richmond. You can contact him via: cllr.g.roberts@richmond.gov.uk




When will a ferry service by operational?


TfL has announced that Uber Boat by Thames Clipper will run the ferry. The precise timeline for the service being operational is dependent on the necessary approvals being given by the consenting authorities such as London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, the Port of London Authority and the Marine Management Organisation.




Can we get better lighting through Dukes Meadow on the other side of Barnes Bridge?


I wrote to Steve Curran, Leader of the London Borough of Hounslow, on the matter as Dukes Meadow resides in Chiswick. Hounslow Council have now shared safe route guidance which you can find here: https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/news/article/1188/new_route_guidance_for_people_affected_by_hammersmith_bridge_closure




What about improving cycling and pedestrian safety from Barnes to Putney Bridge?


Richmond Council has confirmed it will roll-out a series of safety measures to provide assurance to residents as the days get shorter. Measures include:​

  • Parkguard patrols on Hammersmith to Putney Thames towpath
  • Surface upgrades to towpath on Putney and Barnes sides of the bridge
  • Wayfinding lighting
​The Council will put in place four Parkguard marshals on bikes who will patrol the towpath between Hammersmith Bridge and Beverley Brook from 3-7pm on weekdays. Marshals on the Thames towpath will be DBS checked and able to administer first aid. They will be recognisable by high-visibility clothing, which will carry Richmond Council and Parkguard branding. Remedial works are planned to improve the gravel surface of the towpath for pedestrians and cyclists. The Council also intends to trial ground-level LED lighting to improve wayfinding along the towpath at the points where the path is closest to the riverbank.




There simply aren’t enough 533 services. What is TfL doing to increase the number? Or can they make them double-deckers to increase capacity?


In July 2021 there was a change to the 533 bus route. Specifically, the now operates from Hammersmith lower bus station, which TfL hopes will effectively ‘simplify’ the route, reduce its end-to-end running time and improve its overall reliability. The new route will omit certain stops in Chiswick, which TfL feels is sufficiently served by other routes, and should further improve its run time. These changes were originally proposed to take effect from late-August but, given the disruption people have been experiencing, TfL and Metroline brought them in sooner. These changes are of a temporary nature and TfL have assured me that they will continue to review their position on the service, including the frequency and stops. They are keen to assess the new service pattern before making any more changes, and therefore will be keeping the new arrangements for the time being.




Why can’t the 378 be diverted up Lonsdale Road and down Castelnau?


This would add a considerable extra length to the 378 and so require extra resources (additional buses and drivers) to run. It would also add a significant journey time for through passengers between Mortlake and Putney Bridge.




Why can’t the 22 route be extended to North Barnes?


This option has been looked at again by TfL and it is not practicable, even as a short-term measure. This is due to the extra buses and drivers needed and the additional length of time onto the bus route.




Could we have a dedicated school service from Chiswick Train Station?


This would be very difficult to operate and time, and TfL would not be able to justify more than a single vehicle which would be an infrequent service. They would recommend instead to go two stops to Kew Bridge from where there are two bus routes 267 and 391 giving a high frequency bus link to Hammersmith.




How can I feedback my views on the buses to TfL?


You can contact TfL directly via the following webpage: https://tfl.gov.uk/help-and-contact/contact-us-about-buses




What were the results of your recent Bridge Survey?


Thank you to everyone who completed my recent survey. Over 2300 residents from across the borough responded with nearly half (48%) coming from the significantly affected Barnes area.
Key findings from the survey showed that:​

  • 71% of respondents stated their lives had been negatively impacted by the bridge closure.
  • The main changes to people’s lives has been changes in travel routes (61% driving routes, 56% public transport routes) and where they shop (41%).
  • 93% of respondents want some form of motorised transport over the bridge whether that be just buses or buses and cars. The need for motorised travel was driven by older respondents who may be less able to use forms of active travel
  • An overwhelming 88% of respondents believe the Government should fund the bridge repairs
These results clearly show the huge effect the Hammersmith Bridge closure has had on residents. It has led to significantly longer journey times, increased local congestion and a devastating impact on local businesses.




What is this new proposal for a temporary deck above the bridge deck?


In November 2020 Hammersmith and Fulham unveiled a new plan, designed by Foster + Partners and COWI, to build a temporary deck above the existing deck, which would be used by pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles while the main deck in being repaired. This is an exciting proposal that would solve a number of problems. It could also be operational within one year of a contractor being appointed. In February 2021, Hammersmith and Fulham ordered a feasibility study into it, conducted jointly by Foster + Partners and COWI, which concluded that such a design was indeed feasible using the existing bridge foundations. For more informaton, visit: https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/articles/news/2021/03/study-double-decker-proposal-concludes-hammersmith-bridge-could-re-open-pedestrians-next-summer. In August 2021, LBHF announced that it had commissioned Dr Steve Denton, Head of Civil, Bridge and Ground Engineering at consultants WSP, to compare varous options for the stablising and strengthening of the bridge. Having recommended an option for stablisation works, he is now considereing two options for the strenghtnening, with the Foster + Partners/COWI proposal being one of them.





Member of Parliament for Richmond Park and Liberal Democrat spokesperson for transport and climate change.