Residents suffer delays and increased pollution as traffic is redirected through Wandsworth
While politicians and councils continue to argue about who is responsible for the maintenance and sudden closure of Hammersmith Bridge, many local residents are complaining about delays to their journeys and increased pollution as traffic increases along the main routes over the river at Putney and Wandsworth bridges.
An extended closure has been on the cards since 2014 but few were expecting such a sudden closure. Engineers monitoring the bridge reported alarming findings on April 10 and Hammersmith & Fulham Council had no choice but to close it with minimal notice.
Local MP Justine Greening has launched a petition to re-open the bridge saying: "The poor communication as to why the bridge is closed is unacceptable and has caused a lot of disruption for our local Roehampton community. Hammersmith & Fulham Borough Council urgently need to get the work done to be able to make the bridge safe and then reopen it again.
"Hammersmith and Fulham have known about the problems with the bridge for years, and just let things get worse and worse. I’ve previously written to them raising my concerns as a local MP, but they’ve consistently dragged their heels. Our local bus services, including the no 72 route, were already disrupted even with the bridge open. The closure of the bridge affects everyone, not just Roehampton commuters, but the wider local community and students at University of Roehampton too. It will also mean extra pressures on Putney Bridge traffic when we already have air pollution issues in our High Street from traffic pollution.
"It’s time Hammersmith and Fulham Council now got the repairs done it’s been promising for the past year. Residents have waited long enough and I’m working hand in hand with our local Wandsworth Cllr leader Ravi Govindia, and also Zac Goldsmith MP and Greg Hands MP who also have their own local communities affected to make sure this gets sorted out as soon as possible. We have urgently written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling to ask him to put pressure on Hammersmith and Fulham to now act."
The delays in repairing the bridge have resulted in additional wear and tear and, according to a Freedom of Information request submitted by resident Jamie Doe, the restrictions on bus movement over the bridge which were introduced and funded by TfL has cost £275k per annum.
Wandsworth Council has already condemned the indefinite closure and lack of notice. Leader of the Council Ravi Govindia said: "The problems with this bridge are very well known and have led to numerous closures over the past decade. It is not an issue that has suddenly emerged completely out of the blue so Londoners will rightly ask why Hammersmith and Fulham Council has allowed its condition to deteriorate to such an extent that it has to be closed without warning.
“Neighbouring communities should not be left to suffer from their failure to get a grip on this long-standing problem. Hammersmith & Fulham has a responsibility to get the bridge repaired and reopened. They need to get people in this part of the capital back on the move.”
May 10, 2019