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Temporary solutions for Hammersmith Bridge

There are a number of proposals for transport across the river, and creating a temporary bridge.

Ferry

TfL has been tasked with delivering a ferry service, as part of a package of funding from the Government in October 2020.

Richmond Council’s Transport and Air Quality Committee agreed to cover 25% of the ferry’s infrastructure costs, to a maximum of £375,000, to ensure the ferry service can be delivered as quickly as possible and to mitigate the impacts of the on-going bridge closure on Richmond upon Thames residents.

After a competitive procurement process, Transport for London (TfL) has selected Uber Boat by Thames Clippers to run the temporary Hammersmith ferry.

The service will take pedestrians and cyclists over the Thames while Hammersmith Bridge undergoes vital repair and refurbishment works.

It is proposed that the boats will take passengers between piers located near to Queen Caroline Street in Hammersmith and the Hammersmith Bridge approach in Barnes. There will be a full programme of engagement with the local community and other river users ahead of any planning application being submitted.

The ferry will have a minimum capacity of 800 passengers an hour at peak times, with services running daily 06:00-22:00.

Fares are expected to mirror buses at £1.55, subject to necessary approvals. This would include a Hopper option and the acceptance of the same concessions, including freedom passes and free travel for children. The Hopper option will allow people who arrive at the ferry by bus to change onto the ferry at no further charge, as long as they change within an hour of starting their original journey.

Following detailed discussions with the successful bidder, it is expected that boats will be taking passengers across the river at the end of the summer subject to consents.

Temporary bridge solutions

There are a number of proposals for temporary bridge solutions.

Double-decker crossing

H&F Council has plans to build a temporary double-decker crossing within the existing structure of Hammersmith Bridge. A new raised truss structure would be built above the existing road deck, featuring a lower level for pedestrians and cyclists and an upper level for cars and buses. This would allow existing approach routes for traffic to be used.

H&F Council have said the structure will also provide support for the bridge as well as a safe platform for restoration work to be carried out. There would be no load added to the existing bridge deck, which would be removed in stages for repair and restoration off-site which could allow works to be done at greater speed and at a reduced cost. When completed, the temporary raised deck would be removed.

Richmond’s highways, engineering and planning officers will be given an early briefing on the detail of these plans, but will also form part of the design review team

so they can have early insight and input into the implications for Richmond’s side of the bridge. For full details of the plans visit H&F Council website. This was presented to the Department for Transport in November 2020, for consideration.

Temporary cycle/pedestrian bridge

TfL prepared an application for a temporary cycle / pedestrian bridge, which was subject to consultation in Spring 2020. The proposed temporary bridge was a seven-metre-wide, prefabricated steel structure, supported by two piers in the river. The bridge design was step free and had a 5.5-metre-wide carriageway for pedestrians and cyclists. It would have been accessed by shallow ramps from Queen Caroline Street on the north bank and from close to the junction of Castelnau and Riverview Gardens on the south bank.

Since then, the Task Force has picked a ferry service as the best way to restore a connection across the river in the immediate terms for people walking and cycling. Find out more on the TfL website.

Temporary traffic bridge

Richmond Council have reviewed proposals for a temporary traffic bridge and met directly with one of the proponents of this (Beckett Rankine). However, the concept has a considerable number of challenges and we share the view of both H&F Council, TfL and the Government, that this is unfeasible.

Funding and impact of COVID-19

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the planned next step was for TfL to submit the Planning Application for the temporary bridge. However, the pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on TfL’s finances. Around 80% of its income comes from fares and commercial revenue, and with ridership falling to historically low levels at the height of the crisis, its financial position has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

This means that both the repairs to the main bridge – for which funding was not in place before the pandemic – and building the temporary bridge are now contingent on additional funding being provided by the Government. In addition, the terms of any planning consent and the licenses required would require the full funding in place to carry out the repair of Hammersmith Bridge before a temporary bridge could be installed. This is to ensure the temporary bridge would only be there for a limited period.

Between TfL and the Greater London Authority (GLA), three funding bids have so far been submitted to Government for the repairs to Hammersmith Bridge. However, none have received funding from Government to date, and the ongoing impact of the pandemic means Government support is now needed more than ever.

View the Council statement

Updated: 30 March 2021