City of London Corporation announces early reopening of Tower Bridge

The City of London Corporation can today announce that Tower Bridge will be reopening at 12pm today, more than a week ahead of schedule. Works were undertaken to maintain and protect the iconic and much loved listed structure.

Due to favourable weather conditions and well organised planning, management, and project execution, the extensive refurbishment works were able to be completed ahead of the holiday season, meaning the bridge will be open to all users for the Christmas period.

Works undertaken during the three month closure of the vital river crossing included:

  • Replacement of the decking on the bascules
  • Corrosion prevention and repair operations
  • Replacement of worn expansion joints
  • Resurfacing of fixed roads and walkways
  • Waterproofing of approach viaducts
  • Overhaul/maintenance of key mechanical and lift components
  • General cleaning/repairs to the towers, as well as replacement of river navigation and traffic signal lights

The vital refurbishment was done to avoid the risk of unplanned and protracted emergency closures, and will help to ensure the 122 year old bridge’s smooth operation for decades to come.

Over 40,000 people cross over Tower Bridge every day, including 21,000 vehicles, making it a critical connection in crossing the Thames.

The works on the bridge were paid for by the Bridge House Estate, the charitable trust tasked with maintaining five bridges that cross the Thames, and carried out primarily by BAM Nuttall, a British based civil engineering contractor specialising in large infrastructure projects.

Chris Hayward, Chairman of the Planning and Transport Committee commented:

“The decision to close Tower Bridge to vehicles was not taken lightly, but I am immensely pleased at how well the project has gone. I am particularly happy to be able to open the Bridge a week early as a Christmas present to all Londoners.

“I would like to thank motorists, local residents, businesses, and of course commuters for their patience while we undertook this essential work. Special recognition should also be given to the dedicated teams who planned, managed, and undertook these complex works.”

“Tower Bridge will continue as a defining landmark for London, as well as a vital river crossing of the Thames for decades to come.”

Garrett Emmerson, Chief Operating Officer of Surface Transport at Transport for London (TfL) commented:

“It is great news that the City of London Corporation’s major maintenance of Tower Bridge has been completed ahead of schedule. By working closely with the City of London, we were able to make the most of the closure to resurface the adjacent roads, upgrade the traffic signals and improve the pedestrian and cycle facilities in the area without any additional disruption.”

Chris Earlie, Head of Tower Bridge commented:

“I’m very pleased with how smoothly the works have gone over the last three months. I am looking forward to seeing traffic going over Tower Bridge again and I hope motorists enjoy the brand new, smooth road surface.

“I would like to invite all Londoners to come along, step inside and visit London’s most iconic bridge and see it look as good as it did, if not better, as when it was built 122 years ago.”

Notes to editors:

Congestion charging on the signed diversion route will return to normal operation from Friday morning (23rd).

For more information please contact:

Ian Schofield, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

0207 332 1906 / 077 2563 4564 / ian.schofield@cityoflondon.gov.uk

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:

  • We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills projects. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charity City Bridge Trust makes grants of around £20 million annually to charitable projects across London and we also support education with three independent schools, three City Academies, a primary school and the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
  • We also help look after key London’s heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important ‘commons’ in south London.
  • We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies all reflecting a long-term approach.

See www.cityoflondon.gov.uk for more details.