Delayed project will mean single lane operation during day and overnight closures
July 10, 2020
Work on a £6million project to refurbish Wandsworth Bridge is to being later this month. More congestion in the area is anticipated as the work will require access to the bridge to be limited for around two months.
The work is now scheduled to begin on 20 July having been delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak and the need for engineering staff to stick to social distancing guidelines.
Under normal conditions around 40,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day. Before the lockdown took effect, this number had significantly increased after Hammersmith Bridge was closed in April of last year.
The scheme will be split into two phases. Phase one, which is expected to last around two months, will involve work to the road surface and the parts of the bridge normally accessed by the travelling public.
During this initial phase, traffic flows across the bridge will be maintained in both directions but restricted to single lanes. At certain points during this period there are likely to be overnight lane closures northbound to allow the works to progress. At these times diversions will be signposted to Putney Bridge. Pedestrian access should not be affected by the works.
The remaining ten months of the refurbishment scheme will involve works to the underside of the bridge and should cause minimal disruption to the travelling public.
The works include structural repairs, carriageway resurfacing, waterproofing and corrosion protection. The bridge will also be repainted to improve its appearance and protect its steel structure.
Low energy LED floodlights will be installed underneath its arches so they can be lit at night – making it more of a landmark feature of the river in a similar scheme to the one recently carried out upstream at Putney Bridge – and a common feature on many other Thames crossings.
Wandsworth Council Transport spokesman Cllr Paul Ellis said, “This is a major refurbishment scheme to ensure this important Thames bridge remains in full working order and open to the travelling public for many years to come.
“We take our responsibilities for maintaining our parts of London’s vital transport infrastructure very seriously indeed which is why we have been planning the refurbishment for some time and why we set aside the funds to pay for it in 2018. Our efforts should ensure the bridge remains in excellent condition long into the future.”
Funding for the project is coming from the strategic community infrastructure levy (SCIL) which is money levied on property developers in the borough to help pay for important infrastructure projects.
The first river crossing here was built in 1873 but demolished in 1937. 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.”