Hammersmith Bridge lit up in Valentine's message to government

Residents project red illumination on closed west London landmark to highlight delays to repair

Hammersmith Bridge illuminated bright red in a Valentine’s Day stunt
The 133-year-old west London bridge has been closed to traffic since April 2019. Photograph: Nigel Edwards/Hammersmith Bridge SOS/PA

Hammersmith Bridge has been illuminated bright red in a Valentine’s Day stunt aimed at highlighting delays to its repair.

The 133-year-old west London bridge has been closed to traffic since April 2019 when cracks appeared in its pedestals. It then closed to pedestrian, cyclist and river traffic in August after a heatwave caused the faults to “significantly increase”.

Fed-up residents projected a message on to the bridge on Saturday to mark the six-month anniversary of its full closure. Billed as the “UK’s biggest Valentine’s Day card”, the message reads: “Broken Hearts. Broken Promises. Broken Lives. Broken Bridge.”

Organisers said it was addressed to the prime minister, Boris Johnson, the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, the transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, and the Hammersmith and Fulham council leader, Stephen Cowan.

A government taskforce was launched in September last year with the aim of “opening the bridge as speedily as possible”, Shapps said. He said at the time there had been a “lack of leadership in London on reopening this vital bridge”.

Helen Pennant-Rea, chair of the Hammersmith Bridge SOS Residents’ Group, said the “Valentine’s Day card” was intended to be a “fun and entertaining way to draw attention to what remains a serious issue”.

She said: “It is a great shame that we need to raise further attention to the complete inability of politicians from all parties to find a satisfactory solution, to proceed with the funding and works to repair Hammersmith Bridge. Also, to deliver the urgently needed temporary pedestrian crossing.”

Hammersmith and Fulham council, which owns the bridge, wrote a letter to the prime minister in August stating the estimated cost to make it safe and “avoid a potential catastrophic failure” is £46m.