Plans have been shown off that could reopen the Hammersmith Bridge, by slotting in a temporary double-decker road inside the existing structure.

(c) Foster + Partners

Developed by the engineers COWI and architects, Foster + Partners, the idea would be to get the closed bridge open again for traffic, while supporting the bridge during renovation works.

The lower deck would be for pedestrians and cyclists, while an upper deck may be able to carry cars, although that’s not confirmed at the moment. The proposals would also need long approach ramps for the motor vehicles to be able to rise up from street level to the upper deck. The argument for putting the road vehicles above seems to be so that the pedestrian area can also be reused in sections for the bridge repair works to be carried out.

There would be no load added to the existing bridge deck which could then be removed in stages and taken away for repair. They suggest that removal and repair is quicker and cheaper than trying to repair broken parts on site.

Initial estimates suggest the temporary crossing would allow the strengthening and stabilisation works to the bridge to be completed at a cost lower than the current £141million estimate.

(c) Foster + Partners

The plans were presented by the council and developers to Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce which met last week.

The unsolved issue is who pays for the repairs. The bridge is owned by the local councils, not TfL or the government, but the repair bill is beyond what most councils could afford at the moment.

In the meantime, they are pushing ahead with plans for a temporary ferry to restore pedestrian and cyclist access across the Thames. The owner of a nearby pier at Harrods Wharf has offered it free of charge to the council to use for a ferry service.


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  1. And interesting idea.

    I’m going to guess that it’ll still be there in 2050!

  2. Jamie Awdry says:

    I love this, what a great idea and lovely to see that they will do free of charge. I can see this pontoon being added to the Putney Riverbus service if the right investment was given.

  3. Melvyn says:

    Hammersmith Bridge has outlived its time and needs demolition and replacement by a brand new bridge able to take weights for the 21st including double deck buses

    Faffing around like this just wastes money …. Although at present their is an extreme lack of money sham Mayor Boris Johnson abolished the WEZ which could have funded new bridges needed in west London!

    • ianvisits says:

      The WEZ wouldn’t have funded new bridges, as they are the council’s responsibility, not TfLs.

    • Marauder says:

      There is some truth to this, if they are going to remove it for repairs anyway, putting it back somewhere else to leave place for another bridge more adequate for traffic could make sense.
      Now, the somewhere else wouldn’t need to be too far, but somewhere in London where only pedestrian and cycle crossing is needed. This would probably help avoid the need for another massive renovation further down the line.
      Now, I wonder whether the replacement bridge could be an “identical copy” of the original “only in steel” instead of cast iron, to add to the confusion.

      Of course, all of that is day dreaming, but imagine the potential for story telling of having the real Hammersmith bridge not-in-Hammersmith-but-close and the not-real-but-close-enough one in Hammersmith, a delight for the future Ian Visits ^^

    • Keith says:

      Careful with that thought. Could apply that to masses of London and the entire place will look like Canary Wharf. Steel, glass and dreary as _____. Preserving the last vestiges of Victorian charm is a must. We nearly lost Albert Bridge in the 60’s. Thank goodness the plan was junked.

  4. Ricolas says:

    The problem with the bridge is that the suspension pillars are wracked with micro-fractures, right? And it is that that supports the road surface. This diagram seems to show the bridge-in-a-bridge sitting on the road surface. I am sure this is not the case – obviously – but it does make me wonder how it actually works!

  5. Nick L says:

    If they build this, I can see it still being there in 50 years’ time like that other “temporary” structure not far away, the Hogarth Roundabout flyover. The council will think the bodge is adequate and never prioritise the funds to do the job properly.

  6. JP says:

    Ferries have been replaced by bridges since time immemorial, so it’s pleasantly a la mode to see it in reverse.
    A passenger and bike ferry makes sense, but a car and van one’s associated queues in the leafy streets of Castelnau won’t go down well at all no doubt.
    What are the bridges up and downstream for if not for taking the flying cars from this latest starchitect dream. Ramps, cars above people, cheaper? Yeah right.

  7. Andrew Gwilt says:

    I wonder what the new Mayor of London would say if Sadiq Khan is to be replaced by. Whoever wins the election to become the new Mayor of London. I think that Hammersmith Bridge should stay as it is. But to have a huge overhaul.

  8. Keith says:

    Great idea except, put the pedestrians on top.

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