I just wanted to update you on the public meeting I held the week before last with Transport for London on Hammersmith Bridge. It was very well attended, but I know some people who wanted to come were unable to attend so I thought a brief summary of our discussion would be helpful.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council is already in the process carrying out extensive and detailed work, funded by TfL, to get the clearest picture possible of the current state of the bridge. They hope to be in a position to set out possible options and costs for each option by the end of August. That will lead to a better idea of how long the work will take and who will pay for it. Unfortunately, given the problems uncovered to date, TfL are clear it is likely to be about 3 years before we have a fully working bridge again.
TfL emphasised that their view was that the best case scenario post-repairs would be a bridge which could take all traffic with no weight restrictions. Although some people suggested that it could just be a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, the need for a working bridge to accommodate the volume of traffic that needs to cross from north to south and vice versa is a priority and it needs to have a long term solution, not just a short term fix. We also don't want the bridge to simply be repaired back to how it was immediately before its closure with bus services restricted. Some residents also suggested that a completely new bridge should be built, either as a direct replacement or in another location in the area. TfL said that, realistically, this was unlikely, as the costs would still be huge and it would take even longer than repairing the existing one. This would be a decision for LBHF rather than TfL and there would also be issues with where to site landing points, Historic England considerations etc. A tunnel was also suggested but was ruled out on the same basis.
A number of people raised issues related to specific bus routes, including the 72, the 265, the 33 and the 337 services. TfL have undertaken to look at every comment and suggestion that relate to bus routes and will review the situation to ensure that any changes they have made are working, or whether there are others that should be made in the future. It’s really important that we feed our comments in directly to TfL so please do use their consultation website here https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/hammersmith-bridge/ to make your suggestions and they have said they will consider each one.
Pollution was another issue that was high on the agenda, especially in Putney High Street where there have already been problems with poor air quality. However, several residents have been in touch with me to say that other roads in the area have become much busier and congested since the bridge was closed, particularly along Lower Richmond Road but also on some smaller roads which are now being used as cut throughs. TfL said that this issue will be considered in the consultation. As part of addressing the congestion, a number of key traffic lights will be rephased to mitigate the impact of the traffic that has now been diverted to Putney. TfL assured us that the buses that it currently runs are of the highest standard in terms of emissions. TfL also stated that it will discuss with Wandsworth Council the introduction of some possible parking suspensions on Lower Richmond Road as it joins Putney Bridge to help the congestion there.
TfL have said they will continue to hold public engagement events and I plan to have a further public meeting once their current review is complete so, as a community, we can continue to feed in our comments on the proposals.
I hope that's helpful and I'll continue to keep you updated on this important local issue.