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The prospect of a ferry from Hammersmith to Barnes being in place before the end of winter has increased this week following a deal between the government and Transport for London (TfL).

The service will allow pedestrians and cyclists to travel point to point, avoiding a circular trip across other bridges. Procurement will start this week and the government’s Task Force says a service will be active in the new year.

It is understood that as part of the new financial package TfL will be putting £4 million to the creation of the new service. The Minister Grant Shapps has said the Task Force has ‘accelerated’ the process but Hammersmith & Fulham council and TfL have pointed out that progress has been impossible without funding in place. Recently it was disclosed that it could take six and a half years to repair the bridge.

The bridge is owned by Hammersmith and Fulham council, but it doesn’t have the resources to pay for the full repair. TfL has so far spent £25 million in securing the bridge and investigating the problems, but said the Government should pay most of the £126 million estimated repair cost.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, “For too long residents have suffered as those responsible have failed to deal with this issue. I’m pleased to say that, following our funding deal with TfL, alongside the excellent work of our Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce, this first step is becoming a reality.

“We must of course crack on with longer term solutions and that’s why I also insisted TfL allocate part of the bailout to examining how the bridge can be brought back into use. I look forward to seeing this work in the not too distant future.”

The Minister in charge of chairing the Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce, Baroness Vere, said, “The Taskforce quickly identified a ferry service as the most rapid solution available in the short-term and that’s why we made it part of the TfL deal.

“I look forward to working with the Taskforce to progress this as well as establishing how the bridge can be brought back into use.”

Work to investigate the possibility of a ferry service started before the Task Force was created.

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November 6, 2020

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