Tower Bridge will be closed to drivers for three months from October 1 for maintenance and cleaning, the City of London Corporation has announced.
They said they would work closely with the borough of Tower Hamlets, as well as Southwark, to make sure that disruption was minimal.
Drivers are worried about the impact the closure will have on traffic as over 40,000 people, including 21,000 vehicles, use the bridge to get to and from Southwark and Tower Hamlets every day.
Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, criticised the decision and said he thought the closure would be chaotic. He said: “This highlights the absolute farce of London not having another river crossing. Why couldn’t this be done in August, the quietest time of the year?”
Those walking will still be able to use the pedestrian crossings, apart from on three weekends during the closure when they too will be unable to use the bridge. A replacement ferry service has been suggested for pedestrians.
Diversion routes will be in place across Southwark Bridge, for southbound traffic, and London Bridge, for northbound traffic.
Ian Schofield, Media Officer for City of London Corporation explained that diversion routes will be in place across Southwark Bridge, for southbound traffic, and London Bridge, for northbound traffic.
He said: “The planned works have been years in the planning, and extensive traffic modelling has been done by Transport for London.”
Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “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.”
The 122-year-old bridge was last refurbished in the 1970s. Some parts have not had any work done since it was built.
Refurbishments 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