Residents expressed their outrage as it emerged yesterday that Hammersmith Bridge is set to be closed until 2027.
The bridge has not been in use since April 2019, and prospects for pedestrian use of the bridge are uncertain.
The latest news is that a task force was set up to deal with the bridge’s closure, although arguments remain over who is responsible for funding repairs.
Muriel Seaman, 92, and her husband Joseph, 96, ex Royal Navy, live in Barnes, and used to go out at least once a week to meet their old bowling friends.
Muriel said: “These things are quite upsetting for older people that have gone through things like my husband is an ex-navy person, and I was evacuated during the war.
“Things didn’t seem as bad then as they are now, and I’m ashamed. I want to be proud of my country, but everything seems to be going wrong and I don’t like it.
“When you’re old and you’ve got to do a little bit of shopping and work out exactly what time you need to catch the bus back so that you’re not sitting for too long, or walking about for too long.
“Actually, what I do, and I haven’t for a while now, is catch a taxi back which is £21, which can be expensive.”
Barnes resident Justine Hunter, 42, is a civil servant and mother to Claudia, 14, and Louis, 16, who go to school respectively in Hammersmith and in Fulham.
Justine said: “They’re exhausted, they’re just tired. They’ve got GCSEs and A-Levels coming up, you don’t really want to be spending an hour and a half commuting.
“This is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. They’re back to school next week, it’s going to be pitch black dark, and as a parent that’s a massive worry because you just want your children to be safe.
“You don’t want them to have to walk along dark roads and routes where you can’t protect them, but there is no other option.
“I’ve been in the area a long time, but this is the first time we had to face such a long closure of a traffic route in and out of London. I’ve been here long enough to know that this is extremely unusual.”
The task force, headed by government minister Baroness Vere, was set up by the Department of Transport.
Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney and Leader of the London Borough of Richmond, Gareth Roberts, have written to Government Minister and Chair of the Taskforce, Baroness Vere urging her to provide the funding to get the stabilisation work completed and the ferry service up and running.
MP Onley said: “Residents’ lives have been severely disrupted and they have many questions about what is being done to resolve the situation.”
Baroness Vere said that a ferry for pedestrians is unlikely to be available by the end of the winter, with London’s deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander suggesting that a form of toll might be required.
With the bridge having opened in 1887, factors such as extreme temperatures and modern traffic were cited by the Department of Transport as the causes behind the bridge’s closure.
Residents started a petition to obtain a parliamentary debate.