Government Taskforce commits to ferry service by “early 2021”

The Government’s Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce has stated that a temporary ferry solution for pedestrians and cyclists will be in place by “early 2021 at the latest”.

The aim is to allow thousands of schoolchildren, elderly, local residents and commuters to cross between Hammersmith and Barnes every day.

Temporary walkways and pontoons, and the use of existing piers and landing sites, form part of the ferry plan. Several parties have already expressed interest in running a service across the Thames near Hammersmith Bridge.

After a meeting of the Department of Transport's Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce on 8 October, Project Director Dana Skelley said:

“Today the taskforce progressed options for a temporary solution for pedestrian and cycling traffic, including a TfL-run ferry service and emergency stabilisation works. All work is aimed to allow Londoners to quickly and safely across the river. We are committed to this being in place as soon as is possible and by early 2021 at the latest.”

The taskforce statement added that Cambridge University’s Professor Norman Fleck, a fracture mechanics and materials expert, has already held constructive conversations with TfL and H&F engineers.

Transport for London officials will oversee the public procurement process to select an operator for the service and Hammersmith & Fulham, Richmond Council and the Port of London Authority have committed to fast-tracking planning and licensing approvals with passenger safety as the paramount issue.

The Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce was set up by the Department for Transport in September 2020 to take over the project and work up solutions. The taskforce is chaired by Baroness Vere and includes representatives from TfL, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Network Rail, the Greater London Authority and the Port of London Authority.

Cllr Stephen Cowan, the Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has asked the taskforce to make an early commitment on funding, which is crucial to progressing mitigation work as well as the bridge’s repair work.