One lane of light traffic will now be permitted in each direction, whilst work continues to strengthen key sections of the flyover. Traffic restrictions will be enforced by a 2.0m (6”6’) width restriction at either end of the flyover to prevent large vehicles such as HGVs and coaches from crossing.
The structural repair works, which TfL now expects to take around four months to complete, will focus on strengthening six of the 16 spans of the structure to ensure that they can carry full traffic loading by the Olympics.
The advice remains for motorists as this work takes place that as the flyover is not fully open they should consider avoiding the area if possible. Transport for London will have signage and traffic management measures in place to help reinforce that.
Once these repair works, which will see new cables installed within the structure to strengthen the flyover, are completed, TfL will be able to reopen the flyover to all traffic, well ahead of the London 2012 Games.
Following the London 2012 Games, TfL will return to the structure to strengthen the remaining ten spans of the flyover, as well as carry out additional work to re-waterproof the entire road deck to complete the permanent repair. This work is expected to take place in a way that will allow as much traffic as possible to use the flyover during the works.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said:
“I made it very clear the Hammersmith Flyover should not be closed for one minute longer than it has to be and this partial reopening will provide some relief for the thousands of motorists and local people whose lives have been disrupted. I can assure those people that I will ensure the team continues to work tirelessly in order to get this vital structure fully operational as soon as possible.”
All good stuff - but there is a twist to this story which has bubbled up over the last 24 hours, with our MP Andy Slaughter launching an attack on the Conservative MP Mary Macleod for holding a meeting about the issue in Hammersmith. Here's the very fiery exchange between the pair from the House of Commons yesterday:
Mr Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr Speaker, of which I have given you and the hon. Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Mary Macleod) notice. Hammersmith flyover in my constituency has been closed for three weeks. Although we hope for good news as early as today about the reopening, it is clearly a serious matter for my constituents. The hon. Lady has convened a public meeting—nothing wrong with that—to discuss the matter, but she has advertised and convened it in my constituency. She has invited various public bodies, but not me, to the meeting to discuss these matters—she has not invited me to be on the panel.
This goes beyond the ordinary trespassing that Members sometimes commit. I have never heard of an event of this kind. In reality, it means that the public bodies may not attend, because the meeting is now party political. I ask for your guidance, Mr Speaker. The hon. Lady is a new Member and might not know the protocols of the House as well as others do.
Mr Speaker: I will restrict my understanding thus far, and I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for notice of his intention to raise the point of order. It will almost not be a matter of order for the Chair, but, reserving my position, I think it only right before I say anything further—I am sure he will accept this—to ask the hon. Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Mary Macleod) to offer her own thoughts, of which I have had some notice, on the Floor of the House.
Mary Macleod (Brentford and Isleworth) (Con): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. This public meeting is being held purely to help local residents. It is for Transport for London and Hounslow and Hammersmith councils to update local residents and help them. Frankly, that is what I came into politics to do.
I am extremely disappointed that the hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr Slaughter) has attempted to threaten, intimidate and bully me into doing what he wants and play political games. He knew what was happening—I told him at the earliest opportunity. I invited him to the meeting verbally and in writing. He said initially that he was happy with the plans for the meeting.
I have worked well recently with my Labour Hounslow council and expect to have a very positive working relationship with the new hon. Member for Feltham and Heston (Seema Malhotra). It is really sad that we cannot help our local residents without an hon. Member trying to stop us. We should work together for the good of our local residents and our constituencies.
No love lost there, then, and Ms Macelod quite skillfully presents herself as somehow a wounded party valiantly fighting against the nasty Andy Slaughter - but he does have a point. There is an unwritten rule among MPs that they don't do this sort of thing in each others' areas - and if he hasn't even been invited on to the panel - as the MP for Hammersmith for goodness sakes - you need to ask what the Tories are really up to with the meeting in the first place. It couldn't have anything to do with bolstering Boris, who's taken a hit over this, ahead of an election could it?