Three west London Tory MPs have launched a petition demanding that Hammersmith and Fulham council get a move on with reopening Hammersmith Bridge, following its closure a fortnight ago.
Greg Hands (Chelsea and Fulham), Justine Greening (Putney) and Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park) said it was “a matter of urgency” because the shutdown was affecting so many of their constituents.
But the local Labour-run authority said it needed Government help to finance the £40m repairs needed to fix serious structural flaws in the 132-year-old landmark.
Hammersmith’s Labour MP Andy Slaughter is backing the council in its steadfast refusal to foot the bill alone.
Hammersmith and Fulham council has announced the bridge will remain closed to cars and buses “indefinitely” amid concerns about safety, and wants transport secretary Chris Grayling to release funds to Transport for London (TfL) to help with the repairs.
Mr Hands said the impact had been “intolerable” since the closure on April 10, as motorists have been diverted to Putney Bridge.
Traffic jams are likely to be worse this week now the Easter holidays are over and schools resume. The grade II listed bridge is normally used by 20,000 vehicles a day to cross between Hammersmith and Barnes – including about 100 buses an hour.
The council said: “Our weekly safety checks revealed critical faults and we had no choice but to shut the bridge.
“We have a fully tested plan to refurbish the bridge and we’re ready to start work. But, due to Government budget cuts, TfL says it can no longer fund the planned refurbishment. This is a huge disappointment.
“Regrettably, we’ve now been left with no option but to close the bridge indefinitely until the refurbishment costs can be met. So we’re supporting TfL’s call for the Government to invest in this vital river crossing and national monument.”
The bridge has been closed several times in recent years because of structural issues.
A TfL spokesman said: “Although funding the maintenance of the bridge is not TfL’s responsibility, we are working with Hammersmith and Fulham council to identify a final plan for upgrading their bridge.
We are also ready to support them in identifying the necessary funding for this work.
“Keeping local authority infrastructure in good condition is essential to ensure the wider road network stays safe and helps the economy grow.”