The release of a much-awaited feasibility study into replacing Hammersmith Flyover with a tunnel marks a big step in the transformation of west London.
Ordered by Boris Johnson’s London’s Roads Taskforce, the study by Hammersmith and Fulham Council and Hammersmith BID into building a tunnel and demolishing the crumbling flyover started in September last year .
A host of architects, engineers and transport specialists pulled out all the stops to ensure a detailed study was delivered to the mayor in March.
Now widely named the Hammersmith flyunder, the project - which could take just three years to build - was called brilliant by Mr Johnson after he admitted at the beginning of this month that he initially thought the idea was never going to work but having met with the team, proclaimed it to be ‘a most fantastic scheme’.
The report , published on Monday (17), includes master-planning, geotechnical and feasibility reports, along with an economic impact assessment which shows how it could cost from £218 million up to £1.7 billion to build, with three options available.
It is also estimated that redeveloping the land freed up by a tunnel would bring in up to £1billion – some of which could help pay for the flyunder.
Several artists’ impressions of how Hammersmith town centre might look if the flyunder were to go ahead have also been published, and were revealed in the Chronicle at the beginning of March.
Nicholas Botterill, the council’s leader, said: “This elevated concrete monster has divided Hammersmith town centre for decades – magnifying traffic noise and polluting our air in the process. This project would reconnect our divided town centre with the river and make our once beautiful town centre an even more attractive place to visit or do business.
“This report is not an end point. It is a beginning. This is the council’s response to The Mayor of London’s Roads Taskforce and it is now mainly for TfL, who own and manage the A4, to decide how to take the project forward from here.”
The council is also looking at ways to weave the Mayor of London’s Better Junctions scheme to improve Hammersmith Gyratory and the road network in the area for cyclists into the next stage of the plans. Residents and businesses in the borough would also be heavily involved in any consultation on the Better Junctions project.
The £290 million project aims to make 33 roundabouts and gyratory systems across London less threatening to cyclists and pedestrians. Funding will be used to install schemes like direct segregated cycle tracks, two-way roads and traffic-free public spaces.
Better Junctions is set to be designed over the next two years, with help from residents and local groups who will be consulted, while the scheme is expected to be approved and built in 2016/17.
THREE OPTIONS FOR THE FLYUNDER:
1. Digging a ‘cut-and-cover’ tunnel 15 metres below the surface opposite Furnivall Gardens in the west, and opposite Hammersmith and West London College in the east.
2. A longer tunnel using boring machines, like the Crossrail ones, to burrow 25 metres underground. Starting at Sutton Court Road and ending at North End Road.
3. The same length tunnel using boring machines and the same start but ending at Earl’s Court Road.