Architects Present Vision of Hammersmith "Flyunder"
As flyover is described as "terrible act of vandalism"
West London Link – a group of respected west London architects – have presented their vision of a tunnel or "flyunder" which they would like to see replacing the crumbling flyover.
The architects and Hammersmith and Fulham Council described the flyover as a "terrible act of vandalism" which should never be repeated at a packed meeting in Hammersmith Town Hall on April 30.
Since its emergency closure in 2011, which caused traffic gridlock across west London, serious questions have been asked about the long-term viability of the 50 year old structure given the escalating costs of maintenance and increased risk of failure.
The architects, who are backed by Halcrow Group – an internationally respected firm of consulting engineers, showed how the land above a tunnel could be transformed by building new homes, creating more green space and reconnecting Hammersmith town centre with the river.
Tom Ryland, director of Chartered Practice Architects Ltd, in Askew Road, and member of West London Link, said: "The flyover was a terrible act of vandalism. It has been patched up at huge expense and that will only last around 20 years and then it will have to be taken down.
"You could say we have tunnel vision as you could dig a tunnel without major disruption unlike rebuilding the flyover and diverting all the traffic for two years.
"We wanted to show Transport for London what could be possible and it has to be done properly and in a timely way, which means looking at it now.”
Visitors to the exhibition heard that, as well as reclaiming land along the A4 – potentially from as far as the Chiswick roundabout to the new Earls Court development at West Kensington – a tunnel would significantly improve the air quality in Hammersmith, which is one of the most polluted areas in London.
The tunnel plan has been backed by H&F Council which has vowed to start detailed work to explain the benefits to TfL and show how it could work in practice.
Declaring H&F Council’s support for the flyunder, Cllr Nicholas Botterill said: “The Hammersmith Flyover is a hangover from another era that should never be repeated. The age of the ugly concrete viaduct in the sky is over and the age of the tunnel is coming.”
Cllr Botterill continues: "This elevated concrete monster has divided our town centre for decades – magnifying traffic noise and polluting our air in the process. Residents need to be at the heart of the debate about the long-term replacement of this ugly and out-dated structure and there is clearly a desire to think boldly. We have the will locally to make a tunnel happen and we have the latest technology to make it happen.
“The next stage will require us to convince TfL that a tunnel is the best way forward to continue the regeneration of Hammersmith and reconnect local people with the river once again.”
May 3, 2013