Transport body to run further tests on sixties bridge

Transport for London is to keep the 900m Hammersmith flyover closed for a further week as engineers investigate serious structural defects that forced it to close the bridge just before Christmas.

TfL said damage to the ageing sixties structure has been caused by the ingress of salt water from grit laid during the winter months which has corroded and weakened the cables that help support the flyover.

It said engineers were currently urgently assessing the extent of this damage.

TfL is also working to design a solution to strengthen and extend the life of the flyover over the longer-term, by introducing additional cables into the structure, to be implemented ahead of the London 2012 Games.

Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director of Surface Transport, said his team was working night and day alongside the world’s leading structural engineers to fully understand the extent of the flyover’s structural problems.

“Safety must be our top priority and we have not taken the decision to close the flyover lightly,” he said. “However, we are working flat-out to determine what measures we must put in place to safely reopen the flyover as soon as possible. Also, to ensure we can strengthen the structure and extend its life over the longer-term.”