Hammersmith Bridge will not be reopened to traffic until 2027 – more than twice as long as previously feared, a task force has revealed.
The plans were discussed last night during a meeting hosted by Richmond Council, in which Baroness Vere of Norbiton, who leads the committee, said repairs would take six and a half years to complete.
She told the task force: ‘The impact on south west London is not something that the Government would want to be responsible for. We all have to have a commitment to see this project through to the end.
‘At this moment in time and I think you’ll agree, given the timeline of six and a half years, there are various options that should still be on the table while we establish what the long term project looks like.’
London’s Hammersmith Bridge, pictured above, will not be reopened to traffic until 2027 – more than twice as long as previously feared, a task force has revealed
It was also mentioned that the ferry service, which will allow passengers to cross the Thames, will be up and running by the spring, as a result of a lengthy procurement process and delays.
A disappointed local whose children attend school across the river reacted to the announcement.
51-year-old Julia Watkins, who lives in Barnes, told the Evening Standard: ‘These long delays means children as young as six are having to cycle eight miles a day.
‘Old people are having to pay £40 a time for taxis to reach hospital for regular appointments.
‘Businesses are collapsing and ambulances can’t reach us.’
Londoners have been aching for a replacement, which could cost as much as £163million, since the Victoria bridge’s closure in April 2019 when they were forced to use other crossings further down the river.
The crossing was closed with little warning after safety inspectors found cracks in the 133-year-old structure had worsened following a heatwave in the summer.
MailOnline previously revealed that parents at the £39,000-a-year St Paul’s school were taking their children between the banks on small boats.
Children of local residents display their banners in protest. Hammersmith Bridge is closed to all traffic, cyclists and pedestrians, with people earlier gathering to voice their concerns
Hammersmith Bridge in west London, which was closed with little warning to pedestrians and cyclists after safety inspectors found cracks in the 133-year-old structure had worsened
The Department for Transport said earlier this month that it is committed to implementing a solution for pedestrians and cyclists by early next year at the latest.
Hammersmith Bridge has become a political swingball, with both Conservatives and Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan batting responsibility back to the other for failing to fix it.
In a blazing war of words last month, Tory London Assembly member Tony Arbour told the Mayor he should ‘man up’ and take ownership of the problem because he had caused an ‘existential crisis’ for local businesses.
Mr Khan hit back: ‘It’s not an issue of “manning up,” it’s a question of the Government stepping up and providing the funding so desperately needed by residents and businesses.’