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Shut Hammersmith flyover causes 'traffic hell'


A flyover which takes traffic to and from the UK's biggest airport will remain closed for at least another week due to structural problems, it was announced today.

But the flyover, on the A4 at Hammersmith in west London, will be repaired and fully operational before this summer's London Olympics, Transport for London (TfL) said.

The flyover is not only used by those going to and from Heathrow airport, but it is also one of the main routes into London as it is an extension of the M4.

The flyover was closed on December 23 due to water damage that has corroded and weakened the cables that give the bridge its strength.

Today, engineers told London Mayor Boris Johnson that investigations of the extent of the damage to the cables must continue "for a further week before engineers will be in a position to decide whether it is strong enough to allow its reopening even to light traffic".

Local diversions are in place as well as warnings on the M25 and M4 for drivers to avoid the area if possible.

Mr Johnson said today: "I want to reassure the thousands of motorists and local people who are suffering traffic hell that the flyover will not be closed one day longer than necessary.

"Safety has to be the number one priority but TfL will reopen this vital stretch of road as soon as they are able to do so. One thing I can assure Londoners of is that a plan is being finalised within the next few days and work is already beginning on strengthening the flyover so that it is fully operational well ahead of the 2012 Games."