Air Quality Fears As Putney 'Flooded' With Extra Traffic

Work starts on Hammersmith Bridge but no date yet for reopening

Traffic jams on Putney High Street Picture: Owen Sheppard


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Businesses along Putney High Street are saying they are “flooded” by drivers taking alternative routes since Hammersmith Bridge closed for urgent structural problems.

Repair works to Hammersmith Bridge have started after it was suddenly closed last month, causing “huge” traffic jams every day in the area.

Meanwhile, shop staff in Putney say bus and car commutes were taking 20 minutes longer, and complained of increased air pollution.

“It takes 20 minutes just to get down here from the top of the High Street, and I drive from Guildford,” said Emma Wilson, franchise owner of the Toni&Guy salon in Putney High Street.

She added, “This is causing more air pollution with all the standing traffic as well, I’m 100% worried about it.”

Carolyn Brandrick, who volunteers in the British Heart Foundation shop, said, “I walk from Wandsworth and I see the difference on the roads.

“I’m not surprised they had to close it, my old Dad refused to go over the bridge because it literally shook when you drove over it” the 60-year-old added.

Michael Atoui, manager of Milano menswear, 45, said, “I travel from Pimlico and I get stuck on the bus now. I’m shocked that this was allowed to happen.”

Michael Atoui, of Milano menswear shop. Photo by Owen Sheppard

Berni Griffiths, premises manager of St Mary’s Church beside Putney Bridge said, “I drive along Lower Putney Bridge. And I drive my daughter to school in Parsons Green. It takes us 20 minutes longer because the traffic is huge.”

Berni Griffiths of St Mary\'s Church. Photo taken by Owen Sheppard

Dave Khurana, owner of Your Convenience Store, said, “I drive here from Hounslow and now it takes me 30 minutes longer, it’s pretty s***. The road is flooded with traffic.”

Hammersmith and Fulham Council closed the 132-year-old crossing “indefinitely” on 10 April. This sparked a row over who should foot the £40 million repair bill, with TfL pointing the finger at the Government because of cuts to its budget.

This Thursday (2 May), a council spokesperson said,“We’ve been in close conversation with Transport for London and have begun the first phase of the work to restore the bridge to full working order and bring it back to its former splendour.

“We are working with the London Mayor and TfL to agree a way forward to provide the necessary funding to maintain this vital piece of London’s infrastructure and this beautiful feature of Britain’s engineering heritage.”

Putney Bridge traffic. Photo by Owen Sheppard

However, the council was unable to say when the repair work to the Grade II-listed crossing might be completed, or what type of work had so far been carried out.

Wandsworth Council’s deputy leader, Councillor Jonathan Cook also waded into the row. He said: “We have made great strides in recent years in tackling air quality problems in Putney High Street and we are simply not prepared to see all that good work undone or jeopardised.”

Labour MP for Hammersmith, Andy Slaughter, said the Department for Transport (DfT) should “underwrite” the bill, because of austerity the Government had imposed on TfL and the Council. Though he admitted TfL would normally be expected to cover the cost.

Written with contributions from Owen Shepherd - Local Democracy Reporter

May 3, 2019

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