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Bridge Debuts 'Big, Gaping Hole'

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

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A new glass floor on London's famous Tower Bridge gives visitors a new view of part of the city—from 42 meters (138 feet) above the River Thames.

The glass floor is 11 meters long by 1.8 meters wide (36 feet long by six feet wide), and each of the six glass panels weighs 530 kilograms (1,168 pounds), according to the Tower Bridge Exhibition.

The glass floor was unveiled Monday (Nov. 10) on the west walkway. The east walkway will open a glass floor on Dec. 1.

Tower Bridge glass floor
Screen grab via TowerBridge.org.uk

One of the main objectives of the glass floor project was to make "it look as real as possible ... a big gaping hole in the floor," said Chris Earlie, head of the Tower Bridge Exhibition.

The £1 million ($1.58 million USD) project was funded by the City of London Corporation and the Bridge House Estates.

120-Year-Old Bridge

One of London's most popular attractions, the 120-year-old bridge took eight years to build. It is a combined bascule and suspension bridge.

Its high-level walkways were designed so that people could still cross the bridge when it was raised.

The glass floor is 11 meters long and 1.8 meters wide (36 feet long by six feet wide). Each of the six glass panels weighs 530 kilograms (1,168 pounds).

The bridge opens 1,000 times each year for ships to pass through, according to BBC.com.

'A Big Gaping Hole'

"There is that sense of trepidation," Chris Earlie, head of the Tower Bridge Exhibition, told TheGuardian.com. "It is more exciting, I think, because you are not actually that high; you can see everything in detail beneath you.

TowerBridge
Creative Commons / Cmglee

The tall ship Wylde Swan passes under Tower Bridge as decorated for the London Olympics in August 2012. (Note the Olympic rings folded up to allow passage of the mast.) A new glass floor in the walkway 138 feet up allows visitors a view looking straight down.

"I do a lot of climbing and adventure sports but, even for me, the first time was a bit difficult."

Earlie added that one of the main objectives was to make "it look as real as possible ... a big, gaping hole in the floor."

This post was updated at 12:47 p.m. ET Nov. 13, 2014, to add a photo.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Design; Europe; Glass; Program/Project Management; Project Management

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