Famous London bridge stuck open for almost 12 hours

A technical fault left world-famous London landmark Tower Bridge stuck open, with cars and pedestrians unable to cross for almost 12 hours.

On Monday, City of London Police said the bridge became stuck due to “technical failure,” while numerous pictures and videos posted on social media showed the bascules stuck in an upright position after being opened to allow a tall ship to pass through.

Bascules are the movable sections of road on the bridge that can be raised and lowered using counterweights.

Tower Bridge is seen stuck in the raised position as people walk along the south bank on August 9, 2021 in London, England. Tower Bridge, London's 127-year-old iconic landmark, has become stuck open after a technical failure, causing major traffic issues in the capital.
Tower Bridge is seen stuck in the raised position as people walk along the south bank. (Peter Summers/Getty Images)

The technical fault caused long lines of traffic across the city, with pedestrians having to find other ways to get across the river.

On Tuesday morning (Tuesday evening AEST), police confirmed the bridge had reopened to traffic and pedestrians.

According to the Tower Bridge tourism website, the bridge opens about 800 times a year.

Spanning the River Thames, the 240m-long landmark was completed in 1894.

Once powered by steam, the hydraulic bascules have been driven by oil and electricity since 1976.

Fire bridge staff speak next to their fire engines parked on Tower Bridge on the River Thames in London, Monday Aug. 9, 2021. London's Tower Bridge was stuck with its roadway arms raised Monday afternoon, snarling traffic on both sides of the River Thames.
Fire bridge staff speak next to their fire engines parked on Tower Bridge on the River Thames in London. (AP Photo/Tony Hicks)

The bridge also became stuck in August 2020, with the official bridge Twitter account blaming “mechanical failure”.

Tower Bridge is a popular tourist attraction, and visitors can stroll along the walkways connecting the two towers.

The walkways were originally public, but they closed in 1910. They reopened in the 1980s as an exhibition space.

-reported with CNN

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