Hammersmith Bridge in London, UK, could potentially reopen for pedestrians and cyclists next summer, according to the local council.

Architecture and engineering company Foster and Partners and bridge engineering company COWI conducted a six-week technical study, which concluded that a temporary double-decker crossing is feasible using the existing bridge foundations.

The double-decker scheme would involve a truss structure being installed above the existing road deck, with a lower level for pedestrians and cyclists and an upper level for cars and buses.

In their study, the two companies confirmed that the existing foundations are capable of supporting the extra load of the temporary truss.

As well as allowing public access earlier than the current restoration plan, the scheme is expected to save £40m in repair and restoration costs.

The companies have submitted the plans to Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which said it is ‘exploring them further’ alongside ‘other options’.

Foster and Partners structural engineering head Roger Ridsdill Smith said: “The feasibility study supports the technical viability of the proposed temporary crossing, showing that it has the potential to be significantly cheaper than a scheme that repairs the bridge in situ.

“It also offers the possibility of the bridge reopening earlier than previously envisaged. The feasibility study was expedited by the extensive investigations and analysis already carried out on the existing structure and we are grateful for the cooperation of all of the parties involved.”

COWI executive director David MacKenzie said: “Offsite refurbishment of the existing structure is considered to be safer, less disruptive and more sustainable.

“Carrying out the work in internal protected conditions, rather than onsite, will allow us to achieve a higher quality of workmanship and reduce the need for extensive maintenance in the future.”

Hammersmith Bridge has been closed to all public users since last year, after micro-fractures were found in the cast-iron pedestals holding the bridge’s suspension system in place.