London’s deputy mayor Isabel Dedring is “enthusiastic” about the proposal to replace the Hammersmith flyover with a tunnel, said London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham leader Nick Botterill last night.
Speaking at a public meeting about the West London Link (WLL) concept in Hammersmith yesterday, Botterill said that the council was fully behind the proposal developed by a group of local architects and halcrow. He added that he had discussed the plans with Dedring and said that she was encouraging the council to “think boldly” with its proposals.
“The flyover is a mid 20th Century solution to the traffic problems in west London but it is not one that will be sustainable long into the 21st Century,” said Botterill. “The time has come for a tunnel.”
Botterill said that the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham will support the plan and give resources to the development of a feasibility study to see how a tunnel could work for the area but added that the solution has to “stack up in terms of the environment and economy”.
Halcrow global leader for tunnelling Martin Knights said that Hammersmith was not alone in its traffic problems but the issue had been successfully dealt with elsewhere. Knights pointed to Seoul as an example where an existing viaduct had been replaced with a tunnel and the surface redeveloped as a park.
Tom Ryland from Chartered Practice Architects who is leading the WLL initiative, said that the exhibition last night was aimed at demonstrating the possibilities. He said that the costs involved would be unknown until the feasibility study was carried out but added that some funding could come from development of land freed up by removal of the flyover.
WLL claim that despite the recent repairs to the Hammersmith flyover, the lifespan of the stucture is between 15 and 29 years and needs to be replaced. The group has said that direct replacement would take two years and lead to unacceptable disruption for the borough and called for a tunnelled replacement. The group has presented several options from a short cut and cover to directly replace the flyover to its preferred option of a deep bore tunnel from the Hogarth roundabout to Earls Court.
Knights said that the concept has local support but needs political will and ingenuity to demonstrate that the tunnel is possible and viable.