The Hammersmith bridge will reopen to pedestrians and cyclists this weekend, Hammersmith & Fulham council have announced this afternoon.
Last August the crossing was closed to all users amid fears of a “catastrophic failure” after a heatwave enlarged cracks in the structure.
But after a series of safety investigations and the introduction of a temperature control system to help prevent cracking in the 19th century cast iron pedestals, the bridge has been deemed safe to partially reopen.
It will remain closed to cars and other vehicles, as it has been since April 2019, but boats will also be able to pass underneath it.
Prior to its closure, some 16,000 pedestrians and cyclists used the structure every day.
Cllr Stephen Cowan, the council leader, said: “I am very pleased to confirm the latest advice from safety engineers is that we can safely re-open Hammersmith Bridge. We have instructed the team to do that. It will open this weekend.
“I know how difficult the last eleven months have been for people, particularly children needing to cross the river to get to school and those who need to attend medical appointments or get to work.”
He added that the council was in the process of drawing up a timetable for the full restoration of the 134-year-old bridge, so that cars and buses can return.
One plan being considered, which would see a temporary truss laid over the existing decking, would see motor vehicles return and save approximately £40m while potentially cutting three years off the current timetable.
The cost of the project has been estimated at around £140m, which will be split between TfL, the DfT, and the two councils.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “We welcome the news that Hammersmith Bridge will re-open to pedestrians and cyclists from this weekend. We know that the closure of the bridge has disconnected communities and caused upheaval for residents and businesses.
“Transport for London will continue to work with other members of the Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce, including Government, to agree a long-term solution that would fully reopen the bridge to all road users.”