Double Whammy means Boat Race will move to River Great Ouse

Published: Friday, 27 November 2020

THE famous Oxford versus Cambridge Boat Race held annually on the Thames will move to the River Great Ouse next year.

The closure of river traffic under Hammersmith Bridge since August, that will take five years five months to repair is the main cause of the move, with the race being held elsewhere for the five years, Alan Tilbury reports.

HammersmithBridgeCoronavirus has a bearing

The presence of coronavirus coupled with the masses of people that throng the banks of the Thames to witness the race, has also had a bearing on the move as the River Great Ouse does not have the bankside facilities for spectators, but it will still be televised.

It was Health & Safety officials that banned all river traffic from passing under the 133 years old suspension bridge in August after inspectors discovered cracks in the structure.  And it is this that meant the boat race could no longer be held on the Thames.

So next year a three miles stretch of the River Great Ouse, between Ely and Littleport in Cambridgeshire, has today been announced as the venue for next year, with both races, the womens' and mens' races taking place on that river.

Cambridge University Boat Club have trained on the River Ouse for decades and have obviously welcomed the move.

The bridge

Work on the Hammersmith bridge will not start until spring next year with the ferry contract taking three months.

It will then take four months to work out the condition of the bridge pedestals at a cost of £13.9m.

Then comes permanent stabilisation work, taking 21 months at a cost of £32m.

Finally work on the bridge starts with its strengthening taking 30 months, for £80m.

And no boating!