Release Date: 30 July 2020
The Government must step in and help fund the restoration of Hammersmith Bridge, a bridge that is vital to the future economy of the Capital, says Richmond Council.
Earlier this year, Transport for London (TfL) awarded £25 million to help kick start the restoration process of the Grade II* listed bridge. Alongside, there was an outline commitment from central Government that further money would be forthcoming for the wide scale works needed, including the installation of a temporary footbridge.
However, with no firm commitment from the Government to provide the additional money, despite their appeals for ‘shovel ready projects’ and massive losses in TfL income due to the pandemic, there is currently no cash available to undertake the work.
With the future restoration works and temporary footbridge hanging in the balance, Richmond Council is urging the Government to step in with a firm commitment to fund the project.
Cllr Alexander Ehmann, Chair of the Transport and Air Quality Services Committee for Richmond Council, said:
"To use a favourite phrase of the Prime Minister, this is ‘Dither and Delay’ from the Government. You asked for shovel ready projects, Mr Johnson, well here’s one which is practically on your doorstep. Given your well documented enthusiasm for bridges, whether across the Thames or the Irish Sea, surely restoring Hammersmith Bridge is something which ticks all of your boxes.
"At the moment the future of both the temporary footbridge and the major repair works are hanging in the balance. With costs estimated at well over £100m – if they don’t pay – who will? I do not believe that it is fair to ask local people to put their hands in the pockets and pay the millions of pounds needed to fix a bridge that is integral to the wider London network. We need the reassurance from the Government that funding will be given – and soon."
Hammersmith Bridge is owned and maintained by Hammersmith & Fulham Council. Due to severe structural issues, the bridge was closed in April 2019. Following a detailed investigation by a team of world-leading specialist engineers, TfL and Hammersmith & Fulham Council agreed on the future requirement of the bridge. The first stage of the restoration programme began, and TfL provided £25 million to pay for it. Early estimates indicate the wider work could cost around £140 million.
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Updated: 30 July 2020