City of London Corporation announces important repair works to Tower Bridge

The City of London has today announced Tower Bridge will be closed to vehicles for three months later this year to allow important structural repair and maintenance works to take place.

From 1 October Tower Bridge Road will close to vehicles in order for important work to take place. This will help to ensure the 122 year old bridge’s smooth operation for decades to come.

A crossing for pedestrians will be maintained at all times. Subject to final design and agreement with the local authorities, the Bridge will remain open to pedestrians for all but three weekends of the three months of planned works, during which time it is proposed that a free replacement ferry service be provided. The viewing gallery along the walkways of the bridge will remain open to visitors for the entirety of the works, and exhibitions will continue as planned.

The City will be working closely with TfL and the London Boroughs of Southwark and Tower Hamlets to minimise the disruption this needed development will cause, and comprehensive traffic management plans will be in place for the duration of this work.

Every day more than 40,000 people cross over Tower Bridge, including 21,000 vehicles, making it a critical connection in crossing the Thames. This daily heavy use has had an effect on the timber decking of the bridge, which was last refurbished in the 1970s.

The bascules will be maintained as operable to river traffic at 24 hours' notice, in order to meet obligations laid out by act of Parliament. Tower Bridge also opens an average of 1,000 times a year to allow river traffic to access the historic Pool of London.

Significant operations in the schedule of work will include:

  • 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 works on the bridge will be 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:

“This decision to close Tower Bridge to vehicles has not been taken lightly, and this course of action has been taken after extensive consultation and planning in conjunction with numerous stakeholders.

“We will use this time to repair, refurbish, and upgrade London’s most iconic bridge, which has gone without significant engineering works for more than thirty-five years.

“We will work hard to minimise disruption to both pedestrians and motor vehicles, and the bridge’s viewing walkways and exhibitions will stay open for the entirety of the works.”

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said:

“We’ve been working closely with the City of London to minimise the impact of the vital refurbishment of Tower Bridge and to ensure that Londoners have the travel advice they need. 

“Our advice to those traveling in the area is to check before they travel and to plan an alternative route or allow more time for their journeys as roads will be busier than usual.”

Tooley Street is now closed eastbound until 2018 to allow Network Rail’s rebuild of London Bridge Railway Station. The anticipated additional impact of the Tooley Street closure while Tower Bridge is closed is minimal and by both Network Rail and the City of London’s vital work occurring at the same time the total of disruption in the area is minimised.

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