Hammersmith Bridge: Task force appointed to reopen crossing

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Hammersmith Bridge
Image caption,
Pedestrians and cyclists are currently banned from using the bridge

A government task force has been launched to reopen Hammersmith Bridge.

Cracks in the pedestals led to motor vehicles being prohibited from using the 133-year-old cast iron bridge in April 2019.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said there had been "a lack of leadership" in the capital over the bridge.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which owns the bridge, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson stating the estimated cost to make it safe and "avoid a potential catastrophic failure" was £46m.

The letter said: "No local authority has that kind of money available. We therefore write to ask that the government funds this work as a matter of urgency."

Image source, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
Image caption,
Cracks appeared in the north west and south west pedestals of Hammersmith Bridge

Announcing the creation of the task force, Mr Shapps said: "There has been a lack of leadership in London on reopening this vital bridge.

"It's stopped Londoners moving about easily and caused huge inconvenience to everyone, adding extra time to their commute or journeys."

The task force, led by transport minister Baroness Vere, will initially work towards reopening the bridge for cyclists and pedestrians, before moving on to enabling the return of motor traffic.

The Department for Transport has commissioned its own engineering advice on the state of the bridge.

A spokesman for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "The Mayor and TfL (Transport for London) will continue working closely with the bridge owners Hammersmith and Fulham Council and the government to find an urgent solution, but it's time for ministers to put their money where their mouth is."

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