What the Council describes as a ‘terrible act of vandalism’ – the Hammersmith Flyover – closed for emergency repairs in 2011, and heading for end-of-life sometime in the next 50 years in some people’s view, could be replaced by a tunnel, allowing the space occupied by the flyover to be productively used.
West London Link – a group of West London architects – have presented their ideas of how Transport for London (TfL) could replace the crumbling flyover with a tunnel.
Declaring H&F Council’s support for a tunnel, or ‘flyunder’, at a meeting at Hammersmith Town Hall, Cllr Nicholas Botterill said: “The Hammersmith Flyover is a hangover from another era that should never be repeated. The age of the ugly concrete viaduct in the sky is over and the age of the tunnel is coming.”
The architects, backed by Halcrow Group say the land above a tunnel could be transformed by building new homes, creating more green space and reconnecting Hammersmith town centre with the river.
Tom Ryland, director of Chartered Practice Architects, based in Askew Road, Hammersmith, said: “The flyover was a terrible act of vandalism. It has been patched up at huge expense and that will only last around 20 years and then it will have to be taken down. You could say we have tunnel vision as you could dig a tunnel without major disruption unlike rebuilding the flyover and diverting all the traffic for two years.”
HS2 has recently agreed to tunnel under Ealing, largely because it will actually be cheaper than rebuilding the bridges along the way, as well as producing less congestion than stopping up Hanger Lane for a period of years.
The tunnel plan has been backed by H&F Council which has vowed to start detailed work to explain the benefits to TfL and show how it could work in practice.
Cllr Botterill continued: “This elevated concrete monster has divided our town centre for decades. There is clearly a desire to think boldly. We have the will locally ….. and we have the latest technology to make it happen.
“The next stage will require us to convince TfL that a tunnel is the best way forward to continue the regeneration of Hammersmith and reconnect local people with the river once again.”
The flyunder idea has come up several times before, and will have to be evaluated as part of the long term plan to get traffic through Hammersmith if the flyover does in fact need to be replaced.