Climate change is looking very real with the tremendous amount of heat being experienced all over Europe. The UK has announced a “red warning” for extreme heat for the first time in its history. The company will now be wrapping London’s 135-year-old Hammersmith Bridge completely in sun-reflecting silver foil as a means to keep it from cracking, The New York Times reports.
Previously in August 2020, high temperatures exacerbated micro-fractures in the aging throughway’s cast iron pedestals, leading to a shutdown that lasted for almost a year.
As the NYT reports, the local government invested the equivalent of roughly half a million American dollars into a cooling system described by the local government as a “giant air conditioning unit on each of the four pedestal chains” as a result of 2020’s fiasco.
Now, with a heatwave scorching the country, officials are hoping that by reflecting sunlight during the day and running the cooling system over the covered areas at night, engineers will be able to keep the temperature of the sensitive pedestal’s chains below 13 degrees Celsius (roughly 55 degrees Fahrenheit).
According to the NYT, If that temperature reaches 18 degrees Celsius, the bridge will once again be closed off.
“The safety of the public is our first priority,” Sebastian Springer, a project manager for the wrapping endeavor, said in the press release. “As we deal with the current extreme heat, we are also coming up with innovative solutions to keep the temperature within the threshold.”
Springer suggests that innovative solutions are necessary across the board, in these next few weeks and beyond. Future summers will pose similar threats to other ill-equipped structures, which will demand more creativity and money.