London's Tower Bridge Got Stuck Open Due to Mechanical Mishap

Locals enjoyed some rare time on the bridge before the bascules came down again.

Pedestrians, cars stuck on Tower Bridge
Pedestrians, cyclists and traffic on Tower Bridge when it was closed due to a mechanical issue. . Photo: Hollie Adams/Getty Images

London’s famed Tower Bridge got stuck open over the weekend due to a technical issue, snagging traffic in the busy city.

The bridge became stuck open on Saturday when it raised its more than 1,200-ton bascules to let boat traffic pass underneath and experienced a “mechanical fault,” according to the city’s police. Mechanics were rushed to the scene and while the bridge first reopened to pedestrian traffic and bicycles, it was a while longer before it reopened to vehicle traffic.

By Sunday evening local time, the bridge had reopened to cars as well.

“The Bridge experienced technical issues this afternoon and was locked in a raised position for a period of time. It has now reopened. Thanks to all those who fixed it,” Tower Bridge wrote on Twitter.

While traffic was brought to a halt, onlookers took advantage of the rare closure, gathering for photos in the middle of the roadway from once-in-a-lifetime wedding photos to sitting in the middle of the normally very busy pass, Metro reported.

Others took to Twitter to joke about the incident, with one person noting that, “Even Tower Bridge has given up on 2020.”

This isn’t the first time Tower Bridge has been closed: The famous crossing was shut in 2005 for 10 hours after a technical problem prevented the arms from being lowered, according to the BBC.

Tower Bridge, built between 1886 and 1894, remains both a tourist draw and a major thoroughfare for crossing the River Thames. It's open to the public to explore its high-level walkways and engine room. The bridge’s bascules, which are operated by hydraulic power, were completed in 1894 and were the last part of the bridge to be built, according to a post on Tower Bridge's Instagram page. Nowadays, they are raised about 800 times each year.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram @alisonwrites.

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