Calls Made To Temporarily Reopen Fishers Lane

Closure of Turnham Green Terrace due to sinkhole contributing to traffic chaos

Traffic on South Parade during the closure of Turnham Green Terrace

There has been a growing number of calls to reopen the Fishers Lane underpass to all traffic while Turnham Green Terrace is closed due to a sinkhole.

Since the road surface collapsed by the tube station, Turnham Green Terrace has been shut to all traffic in both directions and traffic has been regularly queueing along Acton Lane and South Parade back to Bedford Corner.

The latest information is that Turnham Green Terrace will remain closed at least until the end of the month.

The situation has been exacerbated by the tube and train strikes and ongoing works on Cycleway 9 near the junction of Chiswick High Road and Goldhawk Road. This weekend (Saturday 25 June and Sunday 26 June) there has been the additional issue of the closure of the South Circular Road between Kew Bridge and Chiswick Roundabout.

Initially, traffic that would have gone south on Turnham Green Terrace approaching from the east was being directed down Goldhawk Road to reach Chiswick High Road but there was severe congestion in this area partly due to the cycleway works. Hounslow Highways advised motorist to use South Parade and Acton Lane instead.

The contractor for Hounslow Council said on social media, "Fishers Lane has to remain closed as there is a conflict with the width and height restriction for the bridge. We are very sorry for the difficulty being experienced at the moment, please be assured that this action has only been taken due to the impacts to health and safety."

This caused confusion among some locals as the height and the width of the underpass have not changed since restrictions were introduced.

The decision to reopen Fishers Lane would have to be made by Ealing Council with the agreement of Hounslow Council. When Turnham Green Terrace has previously been closed, Ealing Council have refused to consider the reopening of Fishers Lane and there is nothing to indicate that this policy has changed.

Turnham Green Terrace closed at Bedford Corner
Turnham Green Terrace closed at Bedford Corner

Chiswick Gunnersbury ward councillor Jo Biddolph contacted Cllr Katherine Dunne, cabinet member for climate, environment and transport, asking her to respond urgently to the current transport gridlock. In reply Cllr Dunne said, "I understand that traffic in Chiswick was heavy yesterday, as it frequently is, and would have been compounded by the rail strike and the road closures you mention. I have received differing accounts as to the extent of the congestion.

"We are urgently seeking an update from Thames Water as to the extent of the defect on Turnham Green Terrace and the likely timescale for repair.

"Any change to the Fishers Lane TMO would need to be undertaken by Ealing Council. My view is that this would not be likely to alleviate the situation.

"Our advice remains for residents to avoid travel in the area where possible, and to otherwise follow the diversions that are in place."

Cllr Biddolph responded by saying, "Another example of opinions held, and decisions made, by people who don't live in Chiswick, don't understand the way Chiswick works, and whose views are driven by dogma not the practical realities of everyday life. Residents in Chiswick already avoid travelling by car unnecessarily - as the council's own commissioned research shows. But residents and businesses do need to drive from time to time; Chiswick is and since Roman times has been a key east-west route; and, locally, we rely on our extensive bus network which is already held up by the narrowing of Chiswick High Road, made worse when a road closes for emergency or routine roadworks. A council that purports to want to listen isn't listening and can't think or act flexibly or pragmatically."

One local resident said, "I've become agnostic on the closure of Fishers Lane overall as it has little impact on me but I can't see the argument for keeping it closed in current circumstances. If the number of static 94 and 272 buses I walk past are any indication, then this is having a very significant impact on bus travel times. It is also now completely pointless for an able-bodied person to catch the E3 as it takes longer to get to its destination in the Chiswick area than it would to walk there. The opening of Fishers Lane wouldn't solve these problems but it probably would stop the queues reaching back to South Parade and help the buses function as they should."


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June 26, 2022