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London’s Tower Bridge Closed to Cars After Getting Stuck Open

Tower Bridge crossing the River Thames is stuck open, leaving traffic in chaos and onlookers stunned as the iconic river crossing remains open, in London, Saturday Aug. 22, 2020. PHOTO: AP

Bridge couldn’t close Saturday after letting a ship pass | Only pedestrians and bicyclists may use the bridge for now

BLOOMBERG, AUGUST 23, 2020

By Will Mathis for Bloomberg – London’s Tower Bridge isn’t falling down, but it’s not working very well at the moment.

The iconic bridge across the River Thames was stuck open Saturday after opening to allow a ship to pass. The drawbridge was back in the correct position Sunday, but only bicycles and pedestrians are allowed to cross, the City of London Police said on Twitter.

The bridge, which is more than 120 years old, uses hydraulic power to lift open around 800 times a year to provide clearance for large ships. It is often mistaken by tourists for London Bridge, which is much plainer and located near the iconic Shard skyscraper.

Tower Bridge was scheduled to open four times on Saturday for a river cruise ship known as the Sailing Barge Will.

The ship was built in 1925 and hauled cargo such as coal, cement, and rice around the U.K.’s waterways, according to National Historic Ships U.K. During World War II it was attacked multiple times while carrying supplies, including an incident in March 1943, when a German plane shot 1,000 holes in its sail. Years later, its interior was fitted with mahogany panels to form a dining room.

The ship, which has 30 meter (98-foot) masts, can be rented out for 2,950 pounds ($3,860) for parties of up to 50 people.

A spokeswoman for the City of London Corporation didn’t reply to a request for comment.

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