Saying construction must proceed or lives will be at risk
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has defended the beginning of work on Cycleway 9, saying lives will be put at risk if the project doesn’t proceed as quickly as possible.
London Assembly member for South West London, Tony Arbour asked the Mayor about the issue at a recent Mayoral Question Time. He said that, given the additional traffic in Chiswick caused by the closure of Hammersmith Bridge and the 'strong opposition' to Cycleway 9, would the Mayor not commit to delaying the start of construction work until a temporary bridge replacement was put in place and a better proposal for Cycleway 9 was drawn up.
The Mayor said that there have been 155 pedestrian and cyclist injuries along the route over the last three years, 20 of which were serious and two fatal, adding that "any further delay is another day on which people face unnecessary road danger".
He said: " I have met bereaved families who have suffered road traffic accidents and also those who have suffered serious injuries. I think we cannot wait a day too long to make that path safer."
He went on to say that the commencement of the works during the Christmas period was the best way to minimise the overall impact. Since the work began around the Kew Bridge area there has been significant traffic congestion in surrounding areas.
The disruption is expected to continue until late autumn. TfL plan to work 8am to 5pm on weekdays, 8am to 4.30pmn Saturdays, and 9am to 4pmon Sundays. No noisy work will take place after 11pm on any day.
The Mayor also dismissed Mr Arbour’s suggestion that there was strong opposition to the scheme, saying that 59% of those that responded to the consultation were in favour.
He also claimed that TfL were running an 'extensive communications campaign' to alert people to the roadworks and encourage them to use alternative routes.
However, there has been no local media advertising to raise awareness of the works.
On Hammersmith Bridge the Mayor said:" TfL is managing the impact of the bridge’s closure using every resource at its disposal, including making traffic signal changes, adjusting local bus services and providing an enhanced dial-a-ride service."
He pointed out that Conservative minister had promised that they would provide funding for the repair of the bridge during the election campaign and he said that he was looking forward to this being made available.
Mr Arbour said: " I would suggest, Mr Mayor, that having Hammersmith [Bridge] done would mean infinitely fewer deaths, for example, from the increased pollution that is going to be created by the simultaneous work on the cycleway and the effect of the closure of the bridge. That will outnumber the possible fatalities which might be caused because there is no cycleway."
He added that an 'activist' Mayor would be proceeding as quickly as possible with plans for a temporary bridge replacement and then, when the work was done, ask for the bills to be paid.
After the meeting he said: " This response from Mayor Khan shows his unwillingness to take decisive action on Hammersmith Bridge. His inability to act strategically will condemn West London to years of misery."
CGI of the new layout north of Kew Bridge
January 3, 2020