Travel chaos as London’s iconic Tower Bridge ‘stuck open’

Finished in 1894, Tower Bridge was the largest and most sophisticated bascule bridge ever completed

Barney Davis
Thursday 28 September 2023 16:21 BST
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<p>Tower Bridge was not down when the crossing became stuck on Thursday </p>

Tower Bridge was not down when the crossing became stuck on Thursday

London’s iconic Tower Bridge was stuck in an open position on Thursday, bringing traffic to a complete standstill.

The landmark crossing had opened to allow a boat to pass underneath on the River Thames at around 1.15pm.

Sailing Barge Adieu was scheduled to go under the bridge at that time but it is thought the hydraulic see-saw struggled to close again causing mayhem on London’s roads.

Crowds gather to watch the bridge open at various times in the day

People sarcastically cheered as the bridge finally closed more than half an hour later, according to an eyewitness.

Passerby Dave Bushe told The Independent: “I first thought it was nice to see the bridge open but then realised something might be wrong due to the different angles. I watched it for a little while. A lot of traffic [built up] with two tourist buses waiting on the bridge and large crowds.

“I was almost more excited to see a Thames seal which I had never seen before pop up [in the water],” he said. “There were cheers from the bridge as it eventually closed with bikes first allowed through and then traffic a moment later.”

Tower Bridge had opened to allow the £400,000 Thames sailing barge now transformed into a 1,394 sq ft houseboat underneath.

The nearly 100-year-old SB Adieu had been on a mooring at St Katharine Docks in London close to the Tower of London.

The 87ft long boat was one of seven commissioned by Frederick William Horlock in 1929 yet still remains in racing condition.

When it was finished in 1894, Tower Bridge was the largest and most sophisticated bascule bridge ever completed (‘bascule’ comes from the French word for ‘seesaw’).

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