Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan, has written to the Mayor of London asking for definitive action on the flyunder project.
The Mayor has responsibility for the Hammersmith Flyover and the replacement flyunder scheme. And the new administration in H&F views the flyunder as an important catalyst in regenerating businesses and communities in the heart of Hammersmith.
Residents in H&F, and across west London, have backed the ambitious plans which would see the ailing A4 flyover demolished and replaced with a tunnel.
The Mayor, speaking on his AskBoris radio show on LBC in March last year, indicated that he was ready to give the go ahead for the scheme, and explained: “We’ve been listening to this for months and months and months and actually it is brilliant. It adds up. It’s the most fantastic scheme.
“We’re going to tunnelise the flyover, the timescale will be three or four years, I expect. Even the hardened TfL engineers looked through this, they’ve been pretty sceptical, and they thought it was a great scheme.”
However, since then TfL (which reports to the Mayor) has stated that it wants to study the feasibility of the flyunder as part of its long-term London Infrastructure Plan 2050. That has stifled progress to move forward with the scheme and the time scales previously given by the Mayor.
And Cllr Cowan has asked TfL to use the project as a case study in its own right in an effort to speed up process and has pledged that the council will work in partnership to deliver it.
"This scheme gives the Mayor an opportunity to improve the environment, strengthen the economy and regenerate an important part of London,” Cllr Cowan said. “We’re asking him to take that chance and not to get bogged down in bureaucracy – it would be a legacy project for him."
The preliminary feasibility study explored three tunnel options, which vary from one mile to five miles in length, and are expected to cost between £218million and £1.7billion. Land freed up for redevelopment by the demolition of the Flyover could generate around £1bn which could be used to help fund the project.
TfL is separately seeking to remove the troublesome Hammersmith Gyratory to build a new bus station.