For years, British designer Thomas Heatherwick’s proposal for a lush and verdant pedestrian crossing over the Thames has been derided as preposterously overpriced. More than $48 million in public funds have already been spent on the bridge—and construction hasn’t even broken ground. But after reading a report that actually building the thing would cost another $258 million, London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has decided to finally pull the city out of providing any more public funding for the scheme.
“The funding gap is now at over £70m and it appears unlikely that the trust will succeed in raising the private funds required for the project,” Khan wrote in a public letter to the Chair of the Garden Bridge Trust. “I am simply not prepared to risk a situation where the taxpayer has to step in and contribute significant additional amounts to ensure the project is completed.”
With the city no longer guaranteeing operational and maintenance costs for the bridge, and a number of major donors having previously reneged on financial pledges, the bridge is fatally short on funds. In short: It won’t get built, just like the Guggenheim Helsinki museum, a much-buzzed-about proposal that was killed by the city’s rejection to fund the project.
Deemed a “stunning oasis of tranquility” by former London mayor Boris Johnson, the design of Garden Bridge called for some 270 trees and thousands of plants to cover a 1,200-foot bridge connecting Temple with the South Bank. But the plans were almost immediately embroiled in controversy after their unveiling in 2013. The public had a number of objections, including the bridge’s inconvenient ticketed entry, the fact that bikes wouldn’t be allowed, that it’d be closed after dark, to name a few.