Tower Bridge is OPEN! Engineers work through night to avert morning rush-hour chaos

Tower Bridge has reopened to motorists 12 hours after it became jammed forcing engineers to work through the night to avoid morning rush-hour chaos.   

The bridge’s arms, known as bascules, became wedged upright after being opened at 2.15pm yesterday for a Jubilee Trust Tall Ship to pass beneath it.  

Images taken from the scene showed traffic built up on both sides of the 127-year-old bridge, which is owned, funded and managed by the City of London Corporation.

City of London Police urged the public to avoid the area, saying the iconic landmark has been closed to traffic and pedestrians due to a ‘technical failure’.

Workmen battled through the early hours to fix the fault and it finally reopened at 1.45am – around 12 hours from when the fault occurred. 

Tower Bridge reopened this morning after the bascules became wedged upright after being opened at 2.15pm yesterday for a Jubilee Trust Tall Ship to pass beneath it

Tower Bridge reopened this morning after the bascules became wedged upright after being opened at 2.15pm yesterday for a Jubilee Trust Tall Ship to pass beneath it

Tower Bridge reopened this morning after the bascules became wedged upright after being opened at 2.15pm yesterday for a Jubilee Trust Tall Ship to pass beneath it

In August last year, the bridge was closed to vehicles for over 24 hours because of a ‘mechanical fault’ which also saw the arms fail to close.

The bridge, which took eight years to build and opened in 1894, opens about 800 times every year.

A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation said investigations into why the failure occurred are currently taking place, though a reason has yet to be found.

 It is not the first time that the iconic crossing has suffered a technical fault.

Images taken from the scene show traffic built up on both sides of the 127-year-old bridge, which is owned, funded and managed by the City of London Corporation

Images taken from the scene show traffic built up on both sides of the 127-year-old bridge, which is owned, funded and managed by the City of London Corporation

Images taken from the scene show traffic built up on both sides of the 127-year-old bridge, which is owned, funded and managed by the City of London Corporation

The bridge remained open into the night after being hit by the technical fault

The bridge remained open into the night after being hit by the technical fault

The bridge remained open into the night after being hit by the technical fault

The City of London Police urged the public to avoid the area after the landmark was hit by a 'technical failure'

The City of London Police urged the public to avoid the area after the landmark was hit by a 'technical failure'

The City of London Police urged the public to avoid the area after the landmark was hit by a ‘technical failure’

In 2020 the famous bridge failed to close after allowing a ship to pass along the River Thames, leaving queues of motorists and pedestrians waiting for at least an hour from both directions. 

And in 2005 police closed the bridge for ten hours after a technical problem prevented the arms from being lowered.

It got stuck four times that year, leading bosses to change faulty sensors, fitted in 2002, as part of a £20,000 repair programme. 

The suspension bridge, which is also a popular tourist attraction, directly connects the Square Mile financial district to Southwark. 

Each of its bascules weigh more than 1,100 tons each with a 400 ton counterweight to help them descend after lifting to allow river traffic to pass through. 

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

Opens around: 800 times a year 

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