London’s Tower Bridge stuck open due to technical fault

Fault caused traffic congestion on both sides of River Thames

London’s Tower Bridge was stuck with its roadway arms raised on Monday afternoon, snarling traffic on both sides of the River Thames.

Images of the 127-year-old drawbridge, one of several spans that connect the northern and southern parts of the British capital, showed the two halves of roadway pointing skywards with vehicles backed up on either side.

The bridge reopened eventually at 1.45am local time, nearly 11 hours after it ground to a halt.

The bridge opens about 800 times a year to allow large ships to pass, with times arranged at least 24 hours in advance.

Tower Bridge was repaired in 2006 after the mechanism became stuck four times the previous year.

Malfunctions have been less frequent since, with the last reported on August 22, 2020, when it was stuck for more than an hour.

In May 1997, US president Bill Clinton was separated from UK prime minister Tony Blair when the bridge opened before his motorcade could cross.

In that case there was no technical fault, only bad timing.

Updated: August 10th 2021, 8:59 AM