London’s bridges have quite the weight on their cast-iron shoulders. The dozens of crossings that straddle the Thames bear the load of countless pedestrians, motor vehicles and even trains every single day. And all that weight can, over time, take its toll.
In order to pre-empt damage to one of its historic bridges, Kensington and Chelsea Council is putting restrictions in place that will fine those who exceed its weight limit. Restrictions will be applied to Albert Bridge, which will have cameras enforcing its three-tonne weight limit from Thursday, January 11.
The restrictions aren’t actually new: the council is just enforcing existing rules. The bridge has had a three-tonne restriction since 2012 but it was previously enforced with width restriction posts. It’ll now be enforced with cameras.
The enforcement of Albert Bridge’s rules follows an incident with nearby Hammersmith Bridge in 2019 when cracks were found in the pedestals. That crossing has remained closed to motor traffic, which has led to an increase in journey times for drivers. Kensington and Chelsea Council is keen to avoid having a similar problem with Albert Bridge.
Albert Bridge, which opened back in 1873, connects Battersea on the Thames’s south bank to Chelsea on the north. It’s famously a bit wobbly – and has even been nicknamed ‘the trembling lady’, according to Illuminated River.
About the restriction enforcement, councillor Cem Kemahli said:
‘The bridge is structurally sound and perfectly safe, but it is a listed structure and an important river crossing, so we need to make sure we protect both the surface and the structure for the long term.’
The weight limit enforcement cameras will be on Albert Bridge’s north side, and drivers who pass over it in vehicles which exceed the limit will be fined £130 (reduced to £65 if paid within 14 days).
So, if you’re planning to shift more than three-tonnes worth of stuff over the river, it might be best to opt for a different, sturdier route.
And it’s not just this river crossing which is subject to a shake-up: the Blackwall tunnel is partly closing for some maintenance works later this month.
Did you see that this south London train station could be getting a makeover?
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