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Manser Practice floats idea for alternative to 'traffic-clogged' Hammersmith Bridge


The Manser Practice has drawn up speculative proposals which ‘reimagine’ Hammersmith Bridge as a crossing closed to traffic but open to pedestrians and cyclists 

The 132-year-old bridge was closed to drivers in April this year after the council detected ’critical faults’ in its structure. The total cost of repairs could be as high as £120 million and will take three years.

A £5 million temporary vehicular bridge (visualisation below), running parallel to the main crossing, had been mooted as a solution by marine engineering firm Beckett Rankine to keep traffic moving. However, these plans were recently rejected by council chiefs.

Hammersmith and Fulham said building the £5 million temporary road crossing while the main bridge was undergoing three years of repairs was ’not feasible’.

Now the Manser Practice, which is based on the bridge approach road, said local people have ‘responded positively’ to the bridge’s closure by walking to work and ‘enjoying the calm ambience’.

As an ‘internal creative exercise’, the practice has designed plans for how Hammersmith Bridge could contribute to the borough if it remained closed to traffic.

The reimagined traffic-free bridge also introduces a boat service, which encourages commuters to use the Thames clipper service and alleviate Tube and rail traffic. 

According to the AJ’s sister title New Civil Engineer, TfL has now switched its focus to working up plans for a demountable cycling and pedestrian bridge, instead of the temporary road bridge.

NCE has reported that consultant Pell Frischmann has been brought in by TfL to work up designs for the bridge while it understands that at least three bridging firms have submitted their ideas for a temporary solution as part of a scoping exercise.

However it said the The Manser Practice’s proposal was not being considered by TfL nor the council at this time.

Beckett Rankine director Tim Beckett said that he ‘would not give up’ on his proposal just yet.

‘We still believe it can be done at the cost we submitted and we are having further discussions with Richmond council and local MPs,’ Beckett told New Civil Engineer.

Hammersmith bridge temporary crossing

Hammersmith bridge - rejected temporary road crossing

Hammersmith bridge - rejected temporary road crossing



Readers' comments (2)

  • For God’s sake! Get rid of the existing fake bridge, and install a new steel bridge able to take all the traffic, and cyclists and pedestrians in safety. Have we lost all faith in our Bridge designers?!

    In the meantime, and while a new bridge is being designed, the Manser idea is fantastic, especially the boat station.

    Signed, disgruntled of West London, whose life has been made worse by TfL’s and Hammersmith and Fulham’s inability to get their act together.

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  • Hammersmith Bridge is built in 1887 by Joseph Bazalgette and is a Grade II structure and although more camp than a wedding cake is a much-loved bridge.

    The reason why the bridge is closed is because it hasn’t been maintained for so long it now needs extensive repair work.
    Hammersmith and Fulham Council and Transport for London have yet to agree who is going to pay which percentage of the costs and this has been dragging on for years.

    The bridge has suffered bomb damage twice in its lifetime and put back together with little comment its recent closure is not because of its design it is because of political dogma.

    The proposed temporary bridge is unworkable as on the Barns side it chops the front off the existing Hammersmith Bridge and may require the demolition of the building next to it. On the Hammersmith side it would require widening a residential road changing the road network all of which close to impossible to be approved.

    The ferry terminal seems an unhelpful idea. Hammersmith has two tube stations, three tube lines, a bus terminal and a hospital and Hammersmith Bridge use to connect all three with the Barns area.

    Hammersmith Bridge has a timber road deck which can be updated to be a reinforced steel structure it maybe possible to make the road deck Independent from the existing bridge to alleviate the existing structure and make the change invisible so not to affect its overall appearance. Or you could be completely lazy and add to concrete piers in the centre like they did with the Albert Bridge.

    I am surprised at how lenient we are with the people that have been elected to look after important landmarks. Let’s hope the local council and Transport for London organise themselves more productively while there is something to repair….

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