Local government in London ordered the closing of Hammersmith Bridge to all members of the public after safety inspectors found the recent heatwave had caused massive cracksa. Boats are also not allowed to pass under the Hammersmith Bridge. which is a 133-year-old structure.
Saving the bridge
The Hammersmith Bridge is used by 16,000 people every day. Repairs will be done to keep the decaying bridge secure in the long term, and the cost is estimated to be £140 million, as reported by Metro UK.
Hammersmith Bridge has been closed to motorists since April 2019 because of critical faults found by safety sensors, but it was still open to cyclists and pedestrians while repairs were being done.
The recent inspections carried out as part of ongoing restoration revealed that the heatwave over the past few weeks had caused massive cracks on the bridge to expand, as reported by BBC.
The bridge is owned and maintained by Hammersmith & Fulham Council. The leader Cllr Stephen Cowan said that safety is the number one priority and they are sure that they have averted a catastrophe by closing the suspension bridge that has been standing since the 19th century.
Cowan added that the company has some of the best engineers in the world working on the bridge to ensure the safety of the public. He also apologized for the inconvenience but emphasized that they must follow the advice of the engineers.
Updates will be given as soon as the engineers have investigated the scale of the recent damage and a plan to safely reopen the bridge will follow.
On the other side of the bridge is Barnes, in the borough of Richmond upon Thames. Chairman of the authority's Transport and Air Quality Services Committee Cllr Alexander Ehmann said that they fully support the decision to close the bridge on safety measures.
Ehmann added that safety must come first and that the Richmond Council believes that the safety of all residents must be the number one priority.
Ehmann also said that they see the incident as an emergency because a critical piece of London's infrastructure can't be allowed to crumble into the Thames while the Government and London Mayor "wrangle" over responsibility for the funding. He also called for the Government to act now for the sake of public interest and supply the long-overdue funding.
Heatwave in the UK
On August 7, the UK experienced its hottest day in August for 17 years as temperatures hit 36.4 Celsius in the south east of England. The record came two weeks after the Met Office logged the UK's third hottest day on record, when the temperature soared to 37.8 Celsius.
In July 2019, the UK experienced its highest temperature on record when it reached 38.7 Celsius in Cambridge.
A report that was released after the summer 2019 heatwave showed that the heatwave in the UK was made twice as likely because of climate change, as reported by Wired.
Meanwhile, in other European countries like the Netherlands and France, the temperatures reached 40.7 Celsius and 41.2 Celsius respectively.
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