Published: 03/12/2021 By Allan Fuller
The latest meeting of the Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce, which took place on 25 November, has decided to cease all preparation work on the Hammersmith Bridge ferry project. Originally it was intended that Uber Boat would run a service to enable people to travel between Hammersmith and Barnes but now it has been concluded that further prolonged closures of the bridge to pedestrians and cyclists are unlikely.
The meeting was chaired by Transport Minister Baroness Vere. Attendees included Project Director Dana Skelley and representatives from the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF), the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (LBRuT), the Greater London Authority (GLA), Transport for London (TfL), Department for Transport (DfT) and the Port of London Authority (PLA).
The last meeting in September had concluded that there was insufficient data to make an informed decision but now it has been confirmed that the bridge will need to be closed often enough or for long enough for the ferry to remain a viable solution. What are described as ‘positive updates’ on the council’s plans for stabilisation.
Dana Skelley, speaking on behalf of the Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce, said, “The Taskforce was joined by Dr Steve Denton to discuss the report, which was commissioned by LBHF to assess the options for strengthening Hammersmith Bridge. “The strengthening works will enable the bridge to reopen to all users including motorists and the report indicates that the 2 engineering solutions under consideration by LBHF are viable solutions. Both seek to undertake the same physical engineering work, but the proposed method of delivery is different and therefore each has different advantages and disadvantages. “The Taskforce noted the ongoing work to deliver the business case for the repair and restoration of Hammersmith Bridge, which is a requirement for any project that requires government funding. We look forward to LBHF completing its business casework and for works to commence to restore this historic bridge for full use.”
A TfL spokesman said, “After a review into whether the proposed temporary ferry was still required, the Hammersmith bridge taskforce agreed that there is no longer a need for the service. “We will continue to work closely with the Government and the council to ensure people can continue to cross the river in Hammersmith.”
A spokeswoman for Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The Hammersmith bridge taskforce agreed that there is no longer a need for a ferry service now that Hammersmith and Fulham has been able to re-open Hammersmith bridge to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic.”
The stabilisation works are expected to be completed within 12 months although a funding package has yet to be agreed which would allow work to be done on the bridge to enable motorised traffic to use it again.