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HUNGERFORD HULLABALOO

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The backers of the embattled Hungerford Bridge are 'pessimistic' over its future and admit that the whole project could be dumped. It admitted last week that the cost of the pedestrian crossing has increased from £30 million to £49 million. The Lifschutz Davidson-designed bridge has been hit by construction problems including fears that its piling will endanger a Tube tunnel under the Thames and that World War II bombs buried in the riverbed could explode during construction. London mayor Ken Livingstone has offered £9 million and Lifschutz Davidson is under pressure to simplify its design to cut costs. 'There will have to be some modifications to the design when a decision is taken on the best route to take, ' said Lifschutz Davidson partner Ian Davidson.

'These issues crop up on complicated city centre sites.'

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