- London’s landmark Tower Bridge is to close for urgent repairs all weekend
Travel chaos is expected after it was announced London’s Tower Bridge is to shut all weekend to undergo urgent repair works.
The work has been scheduled at short notice – taking advantage of news that TfL’s planned closure of Blackwall Tunnel this weekend would no longer be taking place.
Tower Bridge will close from 7.30am on Saturday to 5am on Monday. This is on top of the overnight closures taking place all this week from 10pm to 5.30am to replace some giant components on the landmark bridge.
The City Bridge Foundation, which owns the bridge, states that a signed diversion routes will be in place via Southwark Bridge. Drivers using the signed diversion route will be exempt from paying the Congestion Charge.
City Bridge Foundation Chairman Giles Shilson said: ’We appreciate that closing the bridge at short notice will cause some inconvenience, including to local residents and businesses, and it’s not a decision we have taken lightly.
Travel chaos is expected after it was announced London’s Tower Bridge is to shut all weekend to undergo urgent repair works For the first time in decades, engineers will be removing and replacing the 2 metre long ‘nose bolts’ which lock the two bascules on Tower Bridge An engineer inspects a ‘nose bolt’ which will be replaced, on a slightly elevated bascule, on Tower Bridge An engineer climbs up to Tower Bridge as repairs are carried out overnight A security guard stands inside a bascule chamber at the base of Tower Bridge yesterday
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‘However, we need to avoid a clash with the planned closures of Blackwall Tunnel which are taking place every weekend well into the spring, as Tower Bridge is the next Thames crossing along.
‘As the tunnel is now remaining open this weekend, this is an ideal moment to carry out some essential work to the bridge.
‘Failing to do so in good time would increase the risk that we might have to close the bridge for longer, with no notice and possibly during peak weekday hours, further down the line.’
The bridge will remain open to pedestrians except during the overnight closures, and the Tower Bridge visitor attraction will be open as normal.
Footage released by the bridge’s owner, The City Bridge Foundation, shows some of the overnight work taking place.
Four two metre-long nose bolts have been removed and replaced for the first time in decades as part of a series of maintenance works taking place during overnight closures.
The bolts lock in place the moving parts of the bridge, known as bascules, when it is lowered to allow traffic and pedestrians to cross the 129-year-old structure.
City Bridge Foundation is a 900-year-old charity which owns and maintains Tower Bridge along with four other Thames crossings – London, Southwark, Millennium and Blackfriars bridges – at no cost to the public.
Paul Monaghan, assistant director of engineering for City Bridge Foundation, said: ‘The key thing we’re doing as part of this quarterly closure are maintenance works to replace the nose bolts.
Assistant Engineer of the City Bridge Foundation, Paul Monaghan, conducts a media interview on Tower Bridge Engineers install a replacement “nose bolt” on an elevated bascule, on Tower Bridge A newly inserted “nose bolt” is seen in position on a bascule, on Tower Bridgethe old nose bolt The northern side of Tower Bridge is illuminated on October 11 while the bridge is closed for maintenance works Engineers work on an elevated bascule, installing a replacement ‘nose bolt’, on Tower Bridge For the first time in decades, engineers will be removing and replacing the 2m long ‘nose bolts’ which lock the two bascules A tour guide pauses next to an accumulator used to store high-pressure water for use in hydraulic machinery in Tower Bridge Tower Bridge is illuminated while work on bascule “nose bolts” takes place Engineers work on an elevated bascule, where a ‘nose bolt’ will be replaced, on Tower Bridge An engineer hoists himself up to the bridge amid work to replace the 2m long ‘nose bolts
‘We’re doing one of these [on each] night. They’re being replaced because of the wear and tear on the bridge, particularly from the traffic loadings.
‘It’s been probably at least 50 years since these were replaced. The critical
‘As well as being London’s defining landmark, Tower Bridge is a key part of the capital’s transport infrastructure.
‘As a bridge with moving parts, it’s inevitable that we will see wear and tear, but carrying out planned work like this avoids the need for more disruptive and costly repairs further down the line.
‘Doing these kind of jobs at night means we keep London moving and minimise disruption to motorists, pedestrians and the many tourists who come to enjoy the visitor attraction.’
Around 40,000 people and 21,000 vehicles a day cross the bridge, which lifts around 900 times a year to let boats pass underneath.
TOWER BRIDGE: IN NUMBERS
Construction: Begins in 1886 on a design by City of London architect Sir Horace Jones
Involved the work of: 432 construction workers each day
Opened: In 1894 by the Edward VII and wife Alexandra of Denmark (then the Prince and Princess of Wales)
Length: 800 feet (240m) in length
Height: The bridge has two 213 foot (65m) bridge towers
Consists of: Two ‘bascules’ which move around an off-centre pivot, allowing them to rise
Made up of: More than 11,000 tons of steel for the framework and walkways. The foundations needed more than 70,000 tons of concrete to support the structure
Powered by steam: Until 1976 when it was converted to electricity
Crossings per day: Around 40,000 people (including pedestrians, cyclists and motorists)
Opens around: 800 times a year