News ID: 272860
Published: 0841 GMT August 14, 2020

Major London bridge closed with immediate effect after heatwave causes cracks

Major London bridge closed with immediate effect after heatwave causes cracks
The 133-year-old bridge, in west London, was closed.

Hammersmith Bridge has been closed to all members of the public after safety inspectors found the recent heatwave had worsened cracks in the 133-year-old structure.

Even boats will not be allowed to pass under the bridge, which is used by up to 16,000 people every day. A repair bill of £140 million could be needed to keep the decaying bridge secure in the long term, according to 

Hammersmith Bridge has been closed to motorists since April 2019 due to ‘critical faults’ found by safety sensors, but it was still open to cyclists and pedestrians while repairs are carried out. 

Recent inspections carried out as part of ongoing restoration revealed that blistering heat over the past few weeks had caused cracks on the bridge to expand.

The bridge is owned and maintained by Hammersmith and Fulham Council, whose leader Councillor Stephen Cowan said: “Safety is the number one priority. I’m absolutely sure that we averted a catastrophe by closing this 19th century suspension bridge to motor vehicles last year. 

“We have some of the best engineers in the world working on this scheme. They advise we now face a similar dilemma. 

“I appreciate how inconvenient this will be to thousands of people on both sides of the river and I am sorry about that, but we must follow the engineers’ advice which is why the bridge was closed with immediate effect. 

“We will update everyone as soon as engineers have investigated the scale of the recent damage. I have instructed them to find a plan to safely reopen it as quickly as they can.”

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