Hammersmith Bridge shuts due to heatwave cracks

Hammersmith Bridge closed to cyclists, pedestrians and river traffic after heatwave deteriorated faults within its structure

Pathway to COP26 report

Featured Video Play Icon

The 133-year-old Hammersmith Bridge has been closed to cyclists, pedestrians and river traffic after engineers found cracks in the structure had widened after the recent heatwave.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council ordered immediate closure because the cracks significantly increased, despite measures taken to mitigate the heat.

Last year the council ordered the closure of the bridge for motorists after engineers discovered dangerous micro-fractures in the cast iron pedestals that hold the suspension structure in place.

But why is Hammermisth Bridge affected so badly by the heat?

Engineers say iron can shatter and this is why Hammersmith Bridge is vulnerable.

The bridge’s suspension chains were most affected by the extreme temperature changes the UK experienced this past week. Specialists have done everything they could to reduce the temperature of the bridge, including cooling the chains and foundation pedestals with cold water.

Councillor Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham, said: “Safety is the number one priority. I’m absolutely sure that we averted a catastrophe by closing this 19th-century suspension bridge to motor vehicles last year.”

In recent weeks, the Committee on Climate Change and the Environment Agency have warned of the risks of failing to prepare the UK’s infrastructure for extreme weather events.

The ten hottest years recorded in the UK have all occurred since 2002.

If you enjoyed this story you can sign up to our weekly email for Energy Live News – and if you’re interested in hearing more about the journey to net zero by 2050, you can also sign up to the future Net Zero newsletter. 

Latest Podcast