Wants council to ban motor vehicles permanently
A visualisation of the proposals for Hammersmith Bridge. Picture: Possible
Hammersmith Bridge could have pods zooming across it – if a charity gets its way.
Climate charity Possible has called on Hammersmith and Fulham Council to ban cars forever from the 135-year-old bridge.
At an event marking three years since the Victorian bridge first cracked, the group called for an imaginative solution and they believe future technology could transform the bridge.
The charity said, “The bridge was never designed to carry car traffic, and due to its listed status and Victorian construction and materials, it soon became clear this was the most expensive bridge in Britain to fix.
“Making it so the bridge can withstand the load from cars and other private vehicles is going to be costly – £150 million. However, the greatest cost will be welcoming back emissions and motor traffic which will be to the detriment of the local environment and communities.
“We need a better solution. Especially if we are going to achieve the London mayor’s goal of reducing car vehicle kilometres in London by 27 per cent to be on course for net-zero – a target that we most definitely will not reach if we continue to do the same things we’ve always done.
“The people of Hammersmith and the climate deserve something new and bold.”
The charity has now produced plans showing an electric pod zooming past bikes on the bridge before stopping close to Hammersmith Station.
They believe swapping the current road on the bridge for a large cycle lane with space for cargo bikes and rickshaws may be a better solution.
Possible is now getting feedback from residents near the bridge before submitting a formal proposal to Hammersmith and Fulham Council, the Department for Transport and the Greater London Authority.
A number of innovative solutions have been put forward to get the bridge fixed as soon as possible.
Engineering firm Foster + Partners and Cowi were recently awarded funding by Hammersmith & Fulham Council to look into building a “double-decker” crossing over the bridge so it can be used while repair works take place.
It is thought that a double-decker bridge could shave £40million off the cost of fixing the Victorian bridge.
In the past, plans were also put forward to produce a second bridge for cars to cross the river and ideas for a river taxi were also discussed.
Hammersmith Bridge first closed on April 10, 2019 before reopening to bikes and pedestrians in July 2021.
Restoration works are now underway to stabilise the bridge and it is hoped these could be finished by the end of the summer – but cars may still not be able to cross the bridge until 2027.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council approved £3.5million on March 7 to stabilise and restore the bridge.
Councillor Wesley Harcourt, in charge of the environment, said: “These funds will allow us to continue the work that we’ve been doing to repair the bridge and to progress to stage II – the strengthening and restoration works.”
Jacob Phillips - Local Democracy Reporter
April 11, 2022
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