Plans for temporary ferry service following Hammersmith Bridge closure

A ferry service is set to be put in place to help people cross the River Thames following the closure of a west London bridge.

Dana Skelley, of the Government’s Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce group, described the ferry as the “preferred” short-term transport solution and said “we are working quickly to have a service in place by early next year”.

Cracks in the pedestals led to motor vehicles being prohibited from using the 133-year-old cast iron bridge in April 2019.

On August 13, Hammersmith and Fulham Council said a heatwave caused the faults to “significantly increase”, leading it to close the crossing to all users and ban vessels from sailing underneath it.

Summer weather Aug 13th 2020
Summer weather Aug 13th 2020

The local authority, which owns the bridge, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson later that month stating the estimated cost to make it safe and “avoid a potential catastrophic failure” is £46 million.

Other potential solutions for frustrated residents, including a temporary bridge, “remain under consideration”, according to Ms Skelley.

An enhanced local bus service has been put on by Transport for London to try to help travellers.

Summer weather Aug 13th 2020
Summer weather Aug 13th 2020

The taskforce, which is led by transport minister Baroness Vere, is initially working towards reopening the bridge for cyclists and pedestrians, before moving on to enabling the return of motor traffic.

Norman Fleck, a Cambridge professor and mechanics and materials expert, is to join next week’s taskforce meetings.

Ms Skelley said: “Work will now continue to urgently progress the temporary transport plans, and other work related to the bridge and river closure, with the taskforce due to reconvene next week where funding options will be discussed.”