The Major of London imparted his full support to Hammersmith and Fulham council’s proposal to put the A4 into an underground tunnel with homes, offices and green space above.
The councils are pushing for a ‘cut and cover’ tunnel 15 meters beneath the surface just opposite Furnivall Gardens in the west and Hammersmith & West London College in the east. The new development will replace the failing concrete viaduct, which has been severely attacked by chlorine.
Boris Johnson commented: “A presentation came in from H&F [Hammersmith and Fulham]. They’ve been working for months on this idea of creating a new town centre in H&F. We’ve been listening to this for months and months thinking come off it this is never going to work and actually it is brilliant. It adds up. It’s a most fantastic scheme. We’re going to tunnelise the flyover. What was interesting was even the hardened TfL [Transport for London] engineers looked at all this – they’ve been very sceptical – and they thought it was a great scheme.”
The council in collaboration with engineers at Halcrow produced a list of three feasible options for the scheme, varying from 1 mile to 2.5 miles long, which are estimated to cost between £218m and £1.7bn.
According to feasibility study carried out for the council, £1bn could be raised through sale of former highway land to cover the cost of the construction works. The tunnel is expected to take around three years to build.
The council’s leader, Nicholas Botterill, said: “The Hammersmith Flyunder is just the sort of exciting regeneration project that shows what a dynamic and thriving place London is. We are breaking away from the narrow old concerns where transport improvements were solely about traffic flows.
“A flyunder is about so much more than improving traffic and the mayor understands, as we do, that this is about a much wider picture. In one move we could tear down Hammersmith’s Berlin Wall, reconnecting our divided town centre in the process, and make our town centre an even more attractive place to live in, visit or do business.
“It is hugely encouraging that the Mayor has seen the bigger picture and vowed to take the project on to the next stage.”
Photo: CN Plus