Work has begun to repair the blocked pedestrian and cycle path outside the restored Bloor estate in northwest London.
A contractor arrived in mid-December and has started the complex process of drilling, drilling deep into the foundation and, once the roads are dug, carefully disassembling the foundation and moving it to a nearby location before repairing it brick by brick.
I’m told that there are 4,000 square metres to replace, which is about the size of some businesses. It is difficult to judge how much will be costed in the end but as the report published by Wandsworth council earlier this year stated, the cost would be around £400,000, the same amount councillors said Bloor would cost if it did not go ahead.
Wandsworth will get £400,000 from the private developer who owns the site. The borough has already saved £700,000 on the removal of the original bike track and has now £1m to spend on the new bikeway. However the wider plan will cost at least another £2m. The site is owned by a consortium of local council investors who say the new bikeway will cost about £4m.
A fall in the Wandsworth council spending has meant it has not been able to carry out essential repairs to Bloor, where open and precarious bridges and gaps, including those along the current bikeway have left pedestrian and cyclists at risk.
If the work is a success, the cycle path that runs between Smithfield and Bloor, will allow cyclists to cross Smithfield to access the flats again and see views of the market and the underpass.
Commenting on the installation of a new pedestrian bridge near Smithfield, Alison Hebden, chair of the Smithfield Row Residents Association, said: “It looks amazing, built with enormous skills. We are all very happy about it.”
The announcement of the new crossings comes after snow cover led to a collapse of cabling on the remnants of the temporary footbridge, creating an uneven top layer.
This was repaired to allow the installation of the new bridge before winter conditions bring more snow. Several feet of snow have now been cleared and is continuing to melt. The council say they’re optimistic that the work can be completed in January.
At the weekend the council announced that it had filled a crack in a galvanised brick section of the formerly notorious Blythwood pothole.
The pothole – which stretched down the entire length of the pavement and started just north of Denman Street – was repainted with a bright yellow vertical strip that reads: “Blythwood! War on potholes”