A major bridge on a busy bus route has been closed until further notice after critical faults were discovered.
Hammersmith Bridge has suffered problems since a bomb exploded in 2000 leading to weight restrictions that were still in place.
However Hammersmith and Fulham Council say they have had no choice but to shut the bridge to motorists.
They said government cuts to Transport for London have left them unable to complete repairs.
The bridge links Barnes to Hammersmith and is a major route for people trying to get across the River Thames.
The bus routes that will be affected are the numbers 33, 72, 209, 419, 485 and 609.
The council said in a statement: ‘We’ve had to urgently close Hammersmith Bridge to motorists because of safety concerns.
‘Our weekly safety checks have revealed critical faults and we have no choice but to shut the bridge. We’re sorry we couldn’t give you more warning.
‘We have a fully tested plan to refurbish the bridge and we’re ready to start work. But, due to government budget cuts, Transport for London (TfL) says it can no longer fund the planned refurbishment. This is a huge disappointment.
We’ve had to urgently close Hammersmith Bridge to motorists because of safety concerns after our weekly checks revealed critical faults. We’re sorry for the inconvenience but we must put the safety of the public first
— H&F Council (@LBHF) April 10, 2019
‘Regrettably, we’ve now been left with no option but to close the bridge indefinitely until the refurbishment costs can be met. So we’re supporting TfL’s call for the government to invest in this vital river crossing and national monument – so we can get on with the work and reopen the bridge.
‘Hundreds of daily journeys by heavy buses cause regular distress to the bridge. That’s why we agreed with TfL in 2015 that they would only run one bus in each direction at one time, while we developed a longer-term strengthening plan. But this damage has now reached a critical point.
‘Closing the bridge is not a decision we’ve taken lightly and we know it will inconvenience many people. We’re sorry for that disruption, but we must put the safety of the public first.’
Hammersmith Bridge has been bombed before
The bridge was bombed by the Real IRA at 4.30am on June 1, 2000. It caused significant damage and there are still weight restrictions in place.
Four years earlier the Provisional IRA tried to bomb the bridge using the largest Semtex bomb ever found in mainland Britain.
In 1939, Maurice Childs found an IRA bomb while walking over the bridge. He threw it into the river after seeing it sparking and smoking.
The bomb exploded in the Thames before another device exploded causing partial collapse of the bridge.