Hammersmith Bridge closure

On 10 April 2019, Hammersmith and Fulham Council informed us that Hammersmith Bridge would be closed immediately for safety reasons, after its weekly inspection discovered micro fractures in the cast iron pedestals securing the suspension bridge.

About Hammersmith Bridge

Hammersmith Bridge is owned and maintained by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF). Transport for London (TfL) is responsible for managing bus services across the bridge.

It was built in 1887 and is one of the most loved and most photographed Thames crossings. It is a Grade II* listed structure. Because of this, both parts and tools often have to be custom made, which can be costly and take a long time to produce.

It has a very high traffic volume for its age, with more than 20,000 vehicles crossing it every day. Up until 2015, TfL was sending 100 buses an hour over the bridge. It was never designed to carry this volume and weight of traffic and the constant vibration from those vehicles damages the bridge and road surface.

Major repair works to the bridge are now required. The refurbishment work will include overall strengthening of the structure and an improved road surface.

We are working with Hammersmith and Fulham (H&F) Council and TfL to keep residents informed of impacts as a result of the closure.


Restoration works

On Monday 2 September 2019, Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Transport for London confirmed that works have started on repairing Hammersmith Bridge.

Following a detailed investigation by a team of world-leading specialist engineers, TfL and H&F Council agreed on the future requirement of the bridge and the works needed to restore it. The first stage of the work has now begun and TfL has provided £25million to pay for it.

The refurbishment is expected to take approximately three years. Once completed, it will enable cars and buses (including the heavier electric single-deckers) to cross the bridge. But to prevent future damage, we will continue to limit the flow of buses on and off the bridge.

TfL and H&F Council are looking at the most appropriate funding for the next phase of construction, ahead of the planned award of a contract for the next stage of the works in spring 2020.

Early stage estimates indicate the work could cost £120m, which includes a contingency. Engineers will continue to refine this estimate as the project progresses.

Extension of Dial-a-Ride service

TfL has extended their Dial-a-Ride (DaR) services to meet the needs of customers with mobility issues who live near Hammersmith Bridge.

Residents living within one mile of the bridge who meet Dial-a-Ride​’s membership criteria can call a dedicated helpline to arrange for assistance to take them to a pre-agreed location on the other side of the river.

Check if you are eligible at tfl.gov.uk/modes/dial-a-ride/.

Richmond Council survey on Hammersmith Bridge

While the responsibility for the design and delivery of the bridge refurbishment lies with Hammersmith and Fulham Council and TfL, we are asking them to consider the needs, concerns and suggestions of Richmond upon Thames residents and businesses.

Council survey

In June and July 2019, Richmond Council conducted a survey to establish how the closure of the bridge to vehicular traffic is impacting the local community.

Over the six-week informal consultation, 2,707 local residents and businesses submitted their views on areas such as traffic congestion, air quality, parking, accessibility and public transport. They were also asked on their views on the bridge's future. The feedback has now been evaluated and a report has been passed onto Hammersmith and Fulham Council and TfL to be considered.

See the full report (pdf, 1.1 MB).

Public meeting

On Wednesday 19 June over 500 people attended a public Q & A event at St Michael and All Angels Church in Barnes. The panel included the Leader of Richmond Council, Gareth Roberts, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Stephen Cowan, Chair of Richmond Council’s Transport and Air Quality Committee, Alexander Ehmann, senior officers from Richmond Council’s Environment, Traffic and Engineering services and representatives from Transport for London (TfL)

See the presentation (pdf, 1.6 MB)

See the video of the 6.30pm session.

See the video of the 8.15pm session

Frequently asked questions

View changes to public transport

Who is responsible for the bridge?

Hammersmith Bridge is owned by H&F Council, which is solely responsible for its up-keep. Transport for London is responsible for the bus services that cross the bridge.

Why is the bridge closed?

In 2015, H&F Council began a series of thorough reviews. The scope was to check all aspects of the bridge’s structure. These weekly safety checks included using new sensor technology to assess if the stresses being imposed on the bridge were causing structural damage.

The safety checks revealed that over decades the bridge’s bearings had seized up due to corrosion. This has caused the bridge’s natural and necessary flexibility to become compromised. The bridge was closed to motor vehicles in April after engineers discovered hairline micro-fractures had started to appear in the iron casings around the pedestals of the bridge.

How long will the bridge be closed for?

At this stage, it could potentially take three years for the full repair work. A contract for the main works will be awarded in Spring 2020.

Who is going to pay for the work?

TfL have put forward £25 million for early works. H&F Council is working with TfL to identify funding for the main construction.

Is the bridge safe to cross? Who can use it?

The safety issues which have led to the bridge closure are due stress from the weight of vehicles on the bridge.

The bridge is currently closed to all motor vehicles including cars, vans and buses.

The pedestrian walkways are open to walkers and runners. Cyclists can use the tarmacked road and motorbikes may be wheeled, but not ridden, across the bridge.

There are currently no safety concerns for boats passing under the river. If this changes, restrictions will be communicated.

How are you managing the impacts of the closure on traffic and the environment?

TfL is providing us with regular updates on the traffic flow and volume as a result of the closure, which allows us to review traffic management plans (e.g. traffic lights) as appropriate.

We have requested mitigation funding from TfL to support traffic management and physical deterioration repairs on our roads as a result of the closure.

Any non-critical roadworks in the borough will be reviewed in consideration of the additional impact on traffic and public transport. For any emergency works, transport measures will be put in place to best ease traffic congestion.

We have a static air quality monitoring site on Castlenau (Barnes) as well as one in Teddington.

What is being done to help those impacted by the closure?

TfL has made changes to bus routes to provide alternatives routes to reach Hammersmith, or other main transport links.

We are working with local businesses and business associations to assess the impact of the closure on business.

Residents and businesses can give feedback on how the closure is impacting them through our survey. Please note this survey is not a part of H&F Council and TfL's formal planning for the future of the bridge.

What is being done to help people with mobility issues cross the bridge? E.g. a shuttle service

H&F Council and TfL are considering options to make crossing the bridge accessible for all, without using alternative routes. Measures could include a community shuttle service. Other options are also being explored and will be in place as soon as engineers confirm they are 100% confident the bridge can be used safely.

Both welcome suggestions at bridgeproject@lbhf.gov.uk.

Will Richmond residents be able to have a say on the current impacts and on the plans for the bridge?

Decisions around the future of the bridge are made by H&F Council and TfL. 

Richmond residents were able share their thoughts and ideas on the future of the bridge at two public meetings and through a survey (see above for details).

H&F Council and TfL have made their decision about the future of the bridge, but we will work closely with H&F Council and TfL to make sure our resident's needs, concerns and suggestions are taken into account while the bridge remains closed during repairs.

How will the bridge be used in the future?

Hammersmith Bridge is Grade II* listed, meaning it is a "particularly important" structure "of more than special interest". Listed structures require special consideration under the planning system, in order to protect them for future generations. Read more about Historic England Listed Buildings.

H&F Council is aiming to refurbish the bridge to full working order, but safety is always the priority. It is considering many options, including new, alternate bridges and tolling the road.


Updated: 7 October 2019