§ 3.14 p.m.
§ Lord Blyth asked Her Majesty's Government:
§ What is the extent of the damage to Battersea Bridge and when they expect the necessary repairs to be completed and the bridge to be fully operational.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Lord Brabazon of Tara)
My Lords, the London Borough of Wandsworth is responsible for Battersea Bridge. The bridge suffered significant structural damage when it was struck by a barge being towed upstream at 14.30 hours on 14th September 1988. I understand that two of the seven cast iron girders in the central span were severely damaged. Some transverse bracings were distorted and one was broken. Repair work is due to begin tomorrow. No firm date can be given for its completion.
§ Lord Blyth
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord for that comprehensive answer. Will he bear in mind the fact that the present traffic situation on the bridge is causing considerable problems for people using buses who live to the west, on the Morgan's Walk side? Will he use his best endeavours to ensure that the work is carried out as quickly as possible?
§ Lord Brabazon of Tara
My Lords, I am aware that considerable inconvenience is being caused. I understand that a number of warnings and diversion signs have been erected on both sides of the river to try to alleviate the problem. I cannot give a firm date for the completion of the repairs until further structural tests and the consequent further repair work which may be needed have been completed. It is hoped that the bridge will open early in the New Year.