Plans to refurbish bridge scuppered by TfL funding cuts
A west London council has been forced to close Hammersmith Bridge because of "critical faults" after plans to refurbish the 132-year-old structure were ruined by Transport for London funding cuts.
In a statement on its website, Hammersmith and Fulham council said the bridge had been closed indefinitely to vehicles after the faults were identified as part of a weekly safety check.
It said: "Hammersmith Bridge is a Grade II listed, 132-year-old, structure. It was never designed for modern traffic. Hundreds of daily journeys by heavy buses cause regular distress to the bridge.
"That’s why we agreed with TfL in 2015 that they would only run one bus in each direction at one time, while we developed a longer-term strengthening plan. But this damage has now reached a critical point."
The council revealed that plans had been developed to repair the bridge but government cuts to TfL's funding meant they were no longer able to be carried out.
It added: "We have a fully tested plan to refurbish the bridge and we’re ready to start work. But, due to government budget cuts, TfL says it can no longer fund the planned refurbishment. This is a huge disappointment.
"Regrettably, we’ve now been left with no option but to close the bridge indefinitely until the refurbishment costs can be met. So we’re supporting TfL’s call for the government to invest in this vital river crossing and national monument – so we can get on with the work and reopen the bridge."
Pedestrians and cyclists can still use the bridge, the council added.