Hammersmith & Fulham Council has approved a new £6m plan to stabilise Hammersmith Bridge at significantly below the original expected cost with works completing in under a year
Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s specialist engineers Mott MacDonald devised the alternative stabilisation plan which will bring savings of £24m and has now been chosen to replace the existing Pell Frischmann scheme.
H&F commissioned Dr Steve Denton, head of civil, bridge and ground engineering at consultants WSP, to compare the two options to stabilise the bridge’s cast iron pedestals.
As well as saving £24m and reducing the works programme to 46 weeks, the new plan – which has been favourably reviewed by Heritage England – is expected to reduce the need for temporary closures. Engineers believe it will also avoid the need to divert the gas mains on the bridge for the stabilisation work.
The proposal was presented to engineers and officials from the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for London (TfL) at a meeting with Dr Steve Denton and H&F engineers held on 9 August 2021.
The bridge was reopened to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic on 17 July. Safety experts have stated that the use of the temperature control system, which enabled the reopening, can only be temporary.
H&F expects to keep the bridge open to pedestrians and cyclists for the vast majority of the duration of the works, but there may be short programmed periods of closure to allow some works to take place safely. Advance warning of any closures to minimise disruption will be given.
H&F is developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the DfT and TfL incorporating financial proposals to share costs of the work between the three bodies.
The pedestrian stabilisation plan is the first phase of works on the bridge.
The second phase will involve extensive strengthening and full restoration and will allow the bridge to reopen eventually to vehicles.
Putting the safety of the public first
H&F Leader, Stephen Cowan said: “We don’t want to lose a single day in delivering the full stabilisation of the bridge to ensure residents on both sides of the river no longer have to deal with closures or the threat of closures.
“Whilst putting the safety of the public first, we believe that the importance of maintaining pace and progress, the real savings achieved by the deployment of the preferred stabilisation works option and the current vulnerability of Hammersmith Bridge demands rapid action.”