London's Tower Bridge stuck open after technical failure


The famous landmark was scheduled to open this afternoon to allow a large wooden tall ship through, but it appears to have become jammed in place.

City of London Police said the 127-year-old crossing was closed “due to technical failure”.

The bridge remained stuck open overnight and could cause further traffic problems on Tuesday.

Drivers - and pedestrians - have been warned to avoid the area.

  • Construction work began on 22 April 1886 based on a design by City of London architect Sir Horace Jones
  • It was opened to much celebration by the Prince and Princess of Wales on 30 June 1894
  • The crossing is formed of two “bascules” which move around an off-centre pivot, allowing them to rise (the word bascule is French and can be translated as seesaw)
  • Steam was originally used to power the bridge but it was converted to electricity in 1976
  • Upon its completion the bridge was considered the largest and most sophisticated bascule bridge ever made
  • In 1952 a number 78 bus carrying 20 passengers had to leap from one bascule to the other when the bridge began to rise while it was being driven over

Well, I’ll be blowed … :astonished:


It’s the second time this year.

And apparently back in 2006 it got stuck 4 times , and …

In May 1997, US president Bill Clinton was separated from British prime minister Tony Blair when the bridge opened before his motorcade could cross. In that case there was no technical fault. Just bad timing.* …or someone didn’t like either Clinton or Blair!




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More on the 78 bus:

In December 1952, a number 78 double-decker bus was crossing Tower Bridge. At that time, the gateman would ring a warning bell and close the gates when the bridge was clear before the watchman ordered the raising of the bridge. The process failed while a relief watchman was on duty. The bus was near the edge of the south bascule when it started to rise; driver Albert Gunter made a split-second decision to accelerate the bus, clearing a 1.8 m (6 ft) drop onto the north bascule, which had not started to rise. The conductor broke his leg, and twelve of the twenty passengers aboard received minor injuries. The driver was later rewarded with a £10 bonus (£300 today).


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Well, I blame Tom Scott

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40,000+ people cross Tower Bridge on foot daily. :slightly_frowning_face:

London’s Tower Bridge has reopened to traffic after becoming stuck for almost 12 hours.

The bridge reopened to traffic at 01:45 BST on Tuesday.