London’s bridges are falling apart

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An old fear of Londoners is becoming real. High traffic, lack of maintenance, climate change, and crumbling structures threaten the famous bridges over the Thames River, according to a BBC report that said many bridges have reached the limit of their capacity and in need of “immediate repair work.”

According to the BBC, more and more signs are appearing that prohibit people from even walking across a bridge. At the famous Tower Bridge one recent day the wheels jammed, leaving the raised deck stuck and causing chaos in traffic. Last year both the London Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge were shut down for repairs due to complaints from civil engineers, said the report.

Among bridges reported by the BBC as “problematic” are the Westminster Bridge in front of Parliament, Chiswick Bridge, and the historic Hammersmith Bridge in West London on which no motorized traffic is now allowed, and not even rowboats below are permitted to approach, with security guards keeping everyone away from the bridge 24/7.

It could take six years before the bridge is repaired, according to calculations by the London School of Economics (LSE). Of the different authorities responsible for the bridges, the Hammersmith and Fulham Town Councils say they do not have the money for such a mammoth repair, reported the BBC, and that the Bridge House Estate, a City of London asset holder also responsible for the bridges has said it is considering tariffs to cover repair costs.

“There are obviously structural problems with bridge supervision, with government responsibility, with politics,” wrote Professor Tony Travers, LSE transportation expert, commenting on the crumbling infrastructure.

By Milan Sime Martinic