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.
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.
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.
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).
TfL are making some changes to the local bus network to improve links for customers affected by the closure.
The consultation closes on 1 October 2019.
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 video of the 6.30pm session.
See the video of the 8.15pm session.
View changes to public transport
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.
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.
H&F Council's specialist engineers will have completed a full diagnosis of all aspects of the bridge’s state of health by mid-August at which point they will have a more precise understanding of the scale of the works and the timescale required.
Along with Transport for London, H&F Council will then bring forward a detailed plan of work and will be able to give a more precise timescale for the bridge’s re-opening.
At this stage, it could potentially take three years.
H&F Council is working with TfL to submit a bid to the government to fund the restoration works.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Decisions around the future of the bridge are made by H&F Council and TfL.
Richmond Council, H&F Council and TfL are hosting a public meeting for Richmond residents on Wednesday 19 June. This meeting is to better understand the impacts of the closure on people's daily lives. Find out more information.
We are also inviting residents and businesses to take part in our survey about their usage of the bridge and the impact of the closure. We will work closely with H&F Council and TfL to make sure our resident's needs, concerns and suggestions are taken into account as they plan for process.
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: 12 August 2019