Over 72% of residents in the areas around Hammersmith Bridge would support a toll charge if this were the only way of reopening the bridge to all traffic, a survey has shown.
The North-South Survey, commissioned by campaign group Hammersmith Bridge SOS (HBSOS), questioned 1685 residents living either side of the bridge to assess the impact of its closure and what people view as viable funding options.
The 134-year-old bridge was recently reopened to foot traffic and cyclists after being completely shut for almost a year but remains closed to vehicle traffic.
And Hammersmith & Fulham Council, who owns the bridge, is set to propose a tolling scheme to ensure motorists contribute to the upkeep of the bridge.
Local Richmond Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney said: “It’s wonderful news for the people who are living here in North Barnes, because they are finally reconnected, on foot or by bike, to Hammersmith.
“Which will make such a massive difference to so many of them, especially the school children going to and from school to the local businesses here in North Barnes who can get that foot traffic going past them again.
“It will just be transformational for the people who live here in this community.”
HBSOS and residents claim the closure has severely impacted the livelihoods of locals in Barnes and Hammersmith by obstructing their access to basic daily needs such as schools, shopping, medical services, and work.
HBSOS’s North-South Survey also shows that over 50% of residents use the bridge daily, with 40% of people crossing by bike or foot.
Nearly 80% also claimed they had been affected ‘a lot’ by the bridge’s closure.
Now motorists going from either side of the River Thames can only access Hammersmith or Barnes by crossing Chiswick Bridge 4.8km to the west of Putney Bridge 3km to the east.
Hammersmith Bridge SOS’s Julia Llewellyn Smith said: “Without exaggeration, the closure devastated the lives of tens of thousands of residents, who had to make huge detours for everyday journeys – such as to work, school, the tube, hospitals, GPS and the shops.
“These were all trips which previously took ten minutes and now could easily take up to two hours.”
Transport For London, Hammersmith & Fulham Council, Richmond Council, and the Department for Transport are currently still negotiating over who should foot the £141million cost of fully repairing the bridge.
Over 99% of those living in Barnes and over 98% of those living in Hammersmith want the bridge reopened for all vehicle traffic, along with buses, bikes, and pedestrians.
When the bridge reopened on Saturday, locals gathered on the bridge to celebrate in a party-like atmosphere with live music.