The maintenance of major tunnels, bridges and structures in London needs to be scrutinised, in order to avoid another Hammersmith Bridge saga, according to London Assembly members.
The London Assembly has called for a full investigation into the ownership of London’s tunnels and bridges.
Lib Dem assembly member Caroline Pidgeon proposed the amended motion as a direct result of the ongoing closure of Hammersmith Bridge.
Closed to pedestrians and cyclists in August 2020, the bridge has been shut to motorists for well over two years after cracks were discovered in the Victorian structure’s cast-iron pedestals.
“London can never again face the fiasco that has occurred over Hammersmith Bridge and important lessons now need to be learnt,” Pidgeon said.
“We need to take a good look at how we manage the key assets of our bridges and crossings. The investigation by the London Assembly Transport Committee starting this month is a vital first step in making progress in ensuring vital infrastructure in London is properly maintained.”
Fellow Assembly member Elly Baker, who proposed the original motion, said: “We don’t want to see a repeat of what has happened with the Hammersmith Bridge elsewhere in the capital. Investment from Government is needed now to ensure repairs are carried out on London’s road network wherever they are needed, such as Vauxhall Bridge and the Gallows Corner and Croydon flyovers.
“It’s important we pinpoint where accountability lies so we can avoid major road closures happening in other parts of London.”
Transport for London (TfL) has previously warned that key routes such as the A40 Westway, Rotherhithe Tunnel and Gallows Corner Flyover face being closed without investment for major repairs.
As revealed by NCE in February, the cost of patching up London’s surface transport assets has increased by 762% during the last five years. This includes all bridges and tunnels in the Capital as well as River Thames crossings.
TfL has previously estimated that it needs a £2bn investment in its entire road network during the next 10 years to prevent key road bridges and tunnels from shutting.
Questions about a lack of funding for bridge maintenance have been a recurring theme during the last 12 months.
In total, TfL has spent just under £43M on maintaining Thames crossings since 2010 – some £10M less than the £53M spent developing plans for the Garden Bridge under Boris Johnson’s mayorship. (The total maintenance spend only accounts for capital expenditure by TfL and does not include any additional maintenance funding from local councils.)
Department of Civil Engineering Department of Civil Engineering – International Burch University (ibu.edu.ba)