Hammersmith Bridge -- Frequently Asked Questions
Updated October 26 2020
The bridge has been closed for 18 months now. Why has nothing been done?
After the bridge was closed last April, full investigative work was carried out by engineers and plans drawn up for the repairs to the main bridge. Plans for a temporary walking and cycling bridge were also drawn up, and were set to be funded by TfL. This year, TfL have bid for Government funding for work to continue, but unfortunately these bids were rejected. We are still awaiting confirmation of Government funding in order for the temporary and permanent river crossings to be constructed.
Has the Government agreed to fund the bridge repairs yet?
Last week, representatives from the Department for Transport were present at the Public Accounts Committee meeting which I am a member of. I used the opportunity to ask them to clarify their position on funding which is the main reason why no work has started on the bridge since its closure. They did confirm that they will be providing ‘some funding’ for the bridge repairs. However, they could not commit to a timescale but have committed to come back to me on it. I will update you when I receive that response. You can read a transcript of the discussion here on pages 2&3 https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/1038/default/
Instead of fixing the old bridge, wouldn’t it be better, quicker and cheaper to replace it with a new bridge?
As it is Grade II* listed, it would be very difficult and time-consuming to get permission to remove it. Even if permission was granted, removing the bridge and designing and building a new one would cost more than repairing the existing bridge – it is very likely to be required to relocate the existing bridge elsewhere in order to preserve it for future generations and then a new bridge would need to be funded. On the issue of disruption, removing the old bridge and building a new one would be far more disruptive and take considerably longer than repairing the current bridge.
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: www.gov.uk/government/news/hammersmith-bridge-taskforce-meeting-15-october-2020
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: email@example.com
When will a ferry service by operational?
We don’t yet have a definite date from the taskforce. However, they have committed to having a temporary crossing up and running in early next year.
I missed the virtual meeting with the taskforce. Am I able to watch it back?
You can view the full meeting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEvjkH3Eu48
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:
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
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.
Barnes Bridge footpath is now very busy during peak hours and is very difficult to cross in a social distancing manner. What can be done to improve this?
I have a meeting with Network Rail next Monday to discuss any options there may be to improve the crossing while we wait for the temporary crossing to be made available.
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?
TfL have committed an extra peak time service per hour of the 533 route from 2nd Nov. I know this is still not adequate so I will continue to press TfL for more options. Regarding double-deckers, the safety of passengers is TfL’s top priority. They tested this route for suitability to use a double decker bus during busy periods and have concluded that it is simply not safe for the following reasons:
Frequent bridge strikes by buses passing underneath, evidenced by fairly fresh red paint underneath the bridge and damage to brickwork;
The kink in the road immediately to the west of the bridge increasing risk of part of the bus striking the bridge if it had to avoid an oncoming vehicle;
The need for the traffic to halt in both directions to allow the bus to pass underneath the bridge safely;
Lack of space to provide an effective traffic priority system;
The need to relocate, or more likely remove bus stop BK towards Castelnau and Barnes and relocate the pedestrian crossing;
Level of disruption a traffic priority system would cause given there is a constant flow of displaced traffic along The Terrace.
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.