Answers Demanded Over Hammersmith Flyover Closure
No opening date announced as Council slams 'disaster' for local residents
Council leaders are demanding answers from TfL over the Hammersmith flyover calling its closure a 'disaster' for local residents.
TfL suddenly announced that the overpass would be shut on 23rd December after discovering ‘a serious structural defect’ and have yet to give a firm date for reopening only saying that it would be early January at the earliest. In the meantime there have been regular serious traffic jams in the area and concerns are growing about the possible impact if it remains closed once the holiday period has ended.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council is calling for a full explanation into why TfL has closed the section of road and when it will be reopened. All TfL will currently say is that the flyover will be closed while engineers ‘undertake an even more detailed assessment of the complete.
Deputy leader of the council, Cllr Nick Botterill, says: “We want to get to the bottom of what is happening, as it is simply inconceivable that the main route into and out of London in the west remains closed and may not even reopen in time for the end of the holidays.
“We are in continuous contact with TfL’s most senior officials, as well as the engineers on the ground, and are demanding that we get real answers to our questions about what is happening, why the closure is necessary and when this problem will be solved. We have written to the Secretary of State for Transport and the Mayor of London about this, and Peter Hendy, commissioner of Transport for London, has already agreed to meet us early next week to explain what the problem is and how it will be resolved. We need action - and quickly.
“The closure is a disaster for local residents, motorists and the borough’s economy, and this council will do everything in its power to mitigate any further adverse impact a continued closure will have.”
Over the past two years, engineers from TfL have been carrying out detailed monitoring inside the unique 1960s flyover, in particular, checking the condition of the internal cables which help to hold the concrete structure in place.
It was thought that it would be a number of years before major repair works would be needed but last week, TfL identified further technical problems, meaning that the works are needed sooner rather than later.
Leon Daniels, TfL's Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: "Our team have been working around the clock alongside world leading structural engineers to ensure we carry out a detailed assessment of the structure as soon as possible.
"We will be continuing to work day and night to complete our assessment and to set out our next steps. In the meantime the flyover will remain closed until at least early in the New Year and drivers are strongly advised to avoid the area if they can or allow more time for their journeys.
"I would like to apologise for the disruption, but please be assured we are doing all we can to reopen the flyover and to minimise the disruption the closure is causing."
The closure comes just as the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, claimed success for his scheme of requiring utility companies to get permits to dig up roads. He is quoting figures which he says shows serious disruption from roadworks has been cut by 40%
He said: “Roadworks are a colossal nuisance for Londoners and a great cost to our economy. I am pleased to report some progress in our drive to reduce the disruption they cause, however there is still plenty more to do and we will continue to push everyone involved in roadworks on the capital’s roads to do their utmost to help keep London moving.”
December 30, 2011