Hammersmith Bridge, an 1887 cast iron suspension bridge that crosses the River Thames in west London. Designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, whose most famous achievement was designing a sewer network for central London and embanking the Thames, thus eradicating Cholera.
It was shut to pedestrians and cyclists and river traffic in August when they widened in the hot weather.
17,000 people, including 4,000 schoolchildren, once walked across the bridge daily.
20,000 vehicles crossed daily, including 1800 buses every day
The stone piling are from the original bridge that existed here before the 1880s
The council, which owns the bridge, says it will cost £141 million for a full repair but £46 million to be able to reopen it safely to pedestrians. The authority and Transport for London say they do not have the money available.
The nearest road bridge is nearly four miles away. School kids who once walked 10 minutes over the bridge to school now cycle 45 minutes, first along a busy road, dragging heavy bikes and bags (school lockers are banned because of Covid) up and down steep steps at Barnes railway bridge.
Then they cross a park where last year there were 35 arrests for violence and sexual offences and 105 for antisocial behaviour.
The river towpath is often flooded, meaning they must bike alongside the six-lane A4.
Forget public transport — TfL’s provided three buses an hour, carrying only 14 passengers to allow for distancing.
Every day brings tales of 11-year-olds waiting two hours-plus at stops as full bus after full bus accelerates past. A car trip in the perpetual gridlock also takes 90 minutes, impossible for parents also trying to get to work.
Hammersmith and Fulham council owns the bridge; it’s their decades of negligence which led to it first closing to road traffic 17 months ago and the estimated £141 million repair bill.
It is the only bridge of it's kind in Britain, and one of only two in the world like it, the other is over the Danube in Budapest, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.
That too was designed by the same guy who conceived Hammersmith bridge – William Tierney Clark.
The difference however that at Budapest is a rebuild of the original which was damaged in World War II, and thus more substantially built to cope with the much heavier modern traffic.
The following image shows how the structure is built and where the suspension chains eventually lead underground.
Hammersmith Bridge has twice been the subject of bomb attacks.