Back in 2019, cracks in the Hammersmith Bridge pedestals led to motor vehicles being banned along the 136-year-old structure. The damages were deemed dangerous enough to the bridge’s structural integrity that it was unsafe for traffic to cross it. Ever since, the bridge has laid dormant and many have complained that their journeys have gotten longer, or that traffic in the area has increased. The inference has always been that the Hammersmith Bridge would undergo repairs at some point.
The difficulty lies in both the scope of the repairs and the cost required. It’s not merely a case of repairing the cracks, but also ensuring that the structure is protected from future damage when (or if) cars resume crossing the bridge.
However, a new proposal has been suggested – one that removes the cars from the equation entirely. Climate charity Possible has offered an alternative plan for the Hammersmith Bridge that does not require extensive repairs and instead works with the bridge’s current state. Possible proposes that the bridge be dedicated to pedestrian and cyclist usage, with driverless electric pods for people with mobility issues.
Why not just repair the Hammersmith Bridge?
According to Possible, the bridge simply cannot, and should not, be repaired and reopened to motor traffic:
“Hammersmith Bridge cannot be reopened to motor traffic for one simple reason – there is no money to pay for the costs… It was never designed to carry motor traffic and fixing it to carry motor traffic effectively means rebuilding the whole bridge. It can’t be replaced with a modern concrete bridge because of its listed status, and making the original design fit to carry motor traffic will cost hundreds of millions of pounds.”
In contrast, Possible estimates that their plan for the bridge, in total, “should be less than £10 million.” That’s quite a hefty difference! They also reckon that their proposal could be up, functioning, and servicing local residents within a mere matter of months. Far less time than a complete repair, or even rebuilding, of the bridge.
Find out more about the proposed Hammersmith Bridge solution here.