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West Ham fan boat crash caused £100,000 of damage to Hammersmith Bridge

West Ham fan boat crash caused £100,000 of damage to Hammersmith Bridge

The cost of repairing Hammersmith bridge has increased by about £100,000 after it was hit by a party boat carrying West Ham fans.

Hammersmith and Fulham council revealed the extent of the damage caused to the 134-year-old Grade II* listed bridge by the MV Emerald of London on December 10.

The boat had been taking West Ham fans to an away match against Fulham but was forced to turn back after getting stuck under the bridge.

On Monday night the bridge was temporarily reopened to cyclists for about 10 weeks while repairs are carried out to a gantry under the bridge used by maintenance workers.

The bridge was shut to motor vehicles in April 2019 after cracks were detected in its structure.

Stabilisation works, which are being carried out prior to the - as yet unfunded - full restoration of the bridge, have had to be paused. The council said it would look to recover the £100,000 cost from the boat’s owners.

Last month the Standard revealed that the total cost of reopening the bridge had soared to £250m.

The costs are meant to be shared equally between the council, the Department for Transport and Transport for London.

As a condition of TfL’s covid bailouts, the DfT had offered to underwrite TfL’s share of the bridge repairs – but that commitment ends on March 31.

A Government “taskforce” on getting the bridge reopened has not met for more than two years.

But Sarah Olney, the Lib-Dem MP for Richmond Park, has discovered that secret meetings have been taking place on a fortnightly basis between the DfT, TfL and the council.

The DfT is yet to approve the council’s business case for the full repair of the bridge. There are concerns that the share of the costs could change. About £24m of public money has already been committed.

Ms Olney told the Standard: “Getting a cycle lane on the bridge is a welcome step, but the fact repairs have been paused isn’t cause for celebration.

“This stinks of a cover-up. The Government promised to fix the bridge back in 2019. It is time for them to honour that commitment and end this ongoing nightmare for local residents.”

Last night the council’s cabinet approved plans to spend a further £4.6m on the bridge strengthening and £4.1m on pre-restoration works over the next four years.

The bridge is unlikely to open to cars and buses until the end of the decade at the earliest. The Labour-run council wants to impose a toll on motorists to recoup its outlay.

It also appears that council-backed plans for a two-tier bridge have been kicked into the long grass as preparatory drilling has not been carried out.