Engineers from Mott MacDonald, WSP and Xanta will meet in the “coming days” to discuss the possibility of a partial reopening of Hammersmith Bridge.
All three firms sit on Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Board for the Case for the Continued Safe Operation (CCSO), which will ultimately rule on any reopening of the bridge.
A partial reopening would likely see pedestrian and cyclists granted access to the bridge while a longer-term repair plan is drawn up.
The bridge has been completely closed completely since August 2020 after cracks in the structure’s cast iron pedestals widened following a period of warm weather last summer. It has been shut to motorised traffic for more than two years.
Outstanding checks include inspections to the chain knuckles in the bridge’s anchor chain as well as independent evaluation of inspections already carried out on the bridge’s pedestals. (A knuckle joint connects two parts allowing movement in one plane only. The knuckles are pin joint connections between the bridge’s chain and the vertical hangers.)
Speaking on behalf of the DfT’s Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce following the latest meeting, Dana Skelley said: “The group discussed the potential protocols which will be implemented if the Case for Continued Safe Operation Board agrees to a limited and controlled reopening of the bridge to pedestrians, cyclists and expanded river transits in July.
“Engineers plan to meet in the coming days to discuss this in more detail.”
She added: “As set out in the TfL funding deal, the Department for Transport, TfL and LBHF will now develop a memorandum of understanding in relation to funding the project.
“The taskforce awaits a decision from LBHF on its preferred engineering solution for stabilisation, what this will cost and how LBHF’s contribution will be funded.”
The Department for Transport (DfT) urged Hammersmith & Fulham Council to look at a partial reopening of the bridge last year following reports from Aecom and University of Cambridge professor Norman Fleck which suggest that the closure may have been “overly cautious”.
However, the CCSO concluded that “the public cannot be allowed to use the bridge until it is repaired because it has proved to be unstable and still contains unknowable features”.
A temporary double-decker solution running above the existing bridge deck has been tabled by Foster + Partners and Cowi as a means of speeding up construction, slashing costs and providing a temporary crossing to pedestrians, cyclists and motorised traffic.
The proposal has been put to the DfT however no decision on the long term repairs has been made.
Department of Civil EngineeringDepartment of Civil Engineering – International Burch University (ibu.edu.ba)