Hammersmith Bridge repairs

Hammersmith Bridge was built in 1887 and is one of the most loved and most photographed Thames crossings. It is a Grade II* listed structure.

It has a very high traffic volume for its age, with more than 20,000 vehicles crossing it every day. It was never designed to carry this volume and weight of traffic and the constant vibration from those vehicles damages the bridge and road surface.

The iconic bridge currently has a 7.5 tonne weight restriction, with priority for single decker buses and emergency vehicles.

While the bridge has been refurbished in the past, major intervention is necessary to ensure the bridge is fit for purpose in the future.

It is now time for the bridge to have a full refurbishment. This will include strengthening work and a full resurfacing that will last for many years.

Full refurbishment

Major repair works to the bridge are expected to start in late 2018.

The precise scope of the works will be assessed in the coming months. Exact timescales and costs for the refurbishment will be confirmed once this assessment work has been completed.

The refurbishment work will include overall strengthening of the structure and an improved road surface, benefitting motorists and cyclists.

Ahead of this work, two week-long sets of interim repairs were completed in February and October 2017. We hope these repairs will keep the bridge operational until the full refurbishment works start. The works included repair of the deck and road surface panels.

Emergency repairs

The bridge has an old, complex structure, high volumes of traffic and has been in need of urgent repair for some time. This means it is possible that further emergency repairs may be required between the interim works and the full refurbishment.

Who's responsible for the bridge?

While the bridge and road surface is owned and maintained day to day by Hammersmith & Fulham Council, TfL is responsible for managing daily bus services across the bridge.

We will work in partnership with TfL to develop and deliver the repair works with the minimum possible disruption for residents and passengers.

Frequently asked questions

  • How long will the full refurbishment take?

    We don’t have an exact timescale for the works, but it is likely to last many months, because of the age and complex structure of the bridge.

    For example, the decking surface comprises 999 metal panels. Just one of these takes six hours to replace.

    The bridge also includes 172 huge bolts, all of which will need inspecting and some may need replacing. There are only two bridges like this in the world, the other spans the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary. Because of this, both parts and tools often have to be custom made, which can be costly and take a long time to produce.

  • Will the restriction on buses remain until the full refurbishment?

    Yes. We apologise for the restriction and understand this causes frustration for passengers.

    The weight limit is unavoidable for safety reasons and to prolong the lifespan of the bridge.The restriction has been in place for many years but it now being enforced rigorously to ensure damage to the bridge is kept to a minimum.

  • Why has it taken so long to get to this point?

    In recent months, we have undertaken in-depth surveys of the bridge structure which have helped inform exactly what work will need to be done for both the interim repairs and the full refurbishment.

    We will continue to monitor the bridge from the interim repairs until the full refurbishment starts.

  • Why can't the repairs be done at night?

    The technical nature of the repairs means most of the work requires daylight.

  • Can the repairs be done in instalments?

    We understand the closure is disruptive for both local residents and commuters. The scale and duration of the works means it makes more sense to do it all in one go.

  • Would it not be easier to build a new bridge?

    Building a new bridge would be far more expensive and disruptive than repairing Hammersmith Bridge.

Enquiries and further information

For any enquiries, please contact H&F Council’s transport team at bridgeproject@lbhf.gov.uk.

For further information please see the TfL website - www.tfl.gov.uk/hammersmith-bridge.

For enquiries relating to bus services, please contact TfL at buses@tfl.gov.uk.