Hammersmith Bridge to remain partially open to cyclists and walkers – BBC


Hammersmith Bridge can remain partially open after the government confirmed it would pay a third of the repair costs.
The 136-year-old bridge reopened to walkers and cyclists last July after it was shut in August 2020 when cracks were found in its cast-iron pedestals.
The government's £2.93m will go towards the £8.8m stabilisation project already given the go-ahead by Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which owns the bridge.
It will cost £141m to fully reopen the bridge, according to the council.
The structure has been closed to vehicles since 2019, which has increased journey times and congestion in the area as people are forced to take alternative routes to cross the River Thames.
The council has said its budget has fallen by about £60m since 2010 and has called on central government and Transport for London (TfL) to chip in for the work.
As part of the stabilisation work, the pedestals will be filled with concrete and steel frames fitted around them.
The project is due to be completed by the end of the year, after which work to reopen the bridge to motor traffic is expected to take place.
The long-term future of the bridge, and who should pay for repairs or replacement, has long been a controversial issue.
It has set the Conservative government against London's Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, who heads TfL, and Labour-controlled Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
The government previously insisted it would pay no more than a third of the cost of fully repairing the structure.
A spokesman for Hammersmith and Fulham Council said: "This is an important milestone in restoring the bridge to its Victorian splendour."
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "Today, I'm giving Londoners reassurance this government will do everything in its power to keep this vital, historic structure open."
TfL's Alex Batey said: "We are pleased to be able to support the vital stabilisation works on Hammersmith Bridge alongside the Department for Transport and Hammersmith and Fulham Council."
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