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One of the main routes in and out of London has been closed until January.
As millions are expected to take to the roads on what is traditionally the busiest day of the Christmas getaway, an inspection by Transport for London on the flyover found serious structural problems during maintenance works.
Garrett Emmerson, TfL's chief operating officer for surface transport, said: "Safety is our top priority, so we have taken the decision to keep the flyover closed until at least early January while we undertake a full detailed assessment of the structure.
"We are very sorry for the disruption this will cause drivers and we are doing everything we can to minimise traffic disruption.
"We will be working around the clock over the Christmas and New Year period to complete our assessment and to set out plans for the work that needs to take place."
The Hammersmith flyover is the main artery for traffic from the west of London, connecting the M4 with central London.