Ten month revamp schedule will partially close the river crossing
January 6, 2020
Described locally as ‘the bridge the council forgot’, Wandsworth Bridge is about to get its £6million, ten month long refurbishment.
In a bid to quell residents’ concerns about full closure of the much-used river crossing – which the council says is used by around 40,000 vehicles a day – the borough has confirmed the bridge will not close fully to traffic during the refurbishment period.
A spokesperson said: “To ensure traffic is kept moving, at least two of the bridge’s four lanes will remain open at all times, allowing vehicles, buses and bikes to cross the river in both directions.
“The bridge will also remain open at all times to pedestrians.”
The repairs will be structural and will include resurfacing, uplighting and corrosion protection, as well as a repainting of the steel structure which has been in place since World War II. The steel cantilevered bridge linking Wandsworth with Fulham was opened in 1939 and designed by Sir Thomas Peirson Frank who had it painted in dull shades of blue as camouflage against air raids, a colour scheme still seen today. Although it’s one of the busiest Thames crossings it has been described architecturally as "probably the least noteworthy bridge in London".
A crossing between Wandsworth and Fulham has existed since the 19th century. According to the Port of London Authority, a wrought iron structure designed by Julian Tolmne was built on the site in 1873. “It was of the lattice girder type and had a wooden roadway. After 60 years or so this bridge proved unable to cope with increasing levels of traffic so a new bridge was commissioned in 1935.”
As part of the refurbishment the bridge will also be repainted to both improve its appearance and protect the steel structure, although the council has yet to reveal if it will remain blue.
A further embellishment in the form of Victoriana-style architectural lights will be added to enhance the bridge’s curb appeal.
Funding for the project is coming from the community infrastructure levy which the council charges property developers in the borough to help pay for important fundamental projects.