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Hammersmith Bridge wrapped in giant pieces of foil to stop it shutting down in heatwave

Hammersmith Bridge has been wrapped up to stop it shutting down in the extreme heat.

The 135-year-old structure has been swaddled in giant pieces of foil to stop it overheating after weather warnings from the Met Office.

The Grade-II listed bridge was shut down in August 2020 after small cracks in the cast-iron structure expanded in a heatwave. It reopened to pedestrians and cyclists in July 2021.

Engineering firm Arcadis has since installed a £420,000 temperature control system on the bridge to keep it safe and avoid stress on the pedestals.

In a statement, Hammersmith and Fulham council said the equipment is like “a giant air conditioning unit”, which protects the chains supporting the bridge.

Experts have also been working on extra measures to keep the historic bridge cool after an Amber Alert from the Met Office and weather predictions of 34C in the borough on Tuesday.

Engineers have installed silver insulation foil on the chains to reflect the sun off the bridge and are running the cooling system throughout the night.

Hammersmith Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the world, built in 1887 and is one of Britain’s most expensive to fix at an estimated cost of £141million.

The Department for Transport previously said it would pay no more than a third of the total repair costs.

The structure is made up of wood and wrought iron with the suspension held together by cast iron pedestals.

The first phase of fixing the bridge is underway, with £8.9m spent on stabilising micro-fractures in the pedestals.

Pictured top: Hammersmith Bridge has been wrapped in foil (Picture: Hammersmith and Fulham council)

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