Tower Bridge London

Tower Bridge is one of the iconic symbols of London. It is a combined bascule and suspension bridge that goes across the River Thames. This iconic landmark in London is usually mistaken for the London Bridge which is actually the next bridge located upstream.

Tower Bridge History

The Tower Bridge was planned as increased commercial development in the East End of London sometime in the second half of the 19th century required a new river crossing downstream from the London Bridge. A traditional fixed bridge was out of the question as it will prevent tall-masted ships from going into the port facilities of the Pool of London. A design competition was held for the construction of the new bridge. Over 50 designs were submitted sometime in 1876. But it was not until 1884 that a design was approved. The design aimed for a construction of a bascule bridge fixed upon two towers built on both piers. The other ends on both sides are to be built as suspension bridges.

Construction of the bridge started in 1886. It took over eight years to finish. The bridge was officially opened in June 30, 1894. Total cost of the construction was 1.184 million British Pounds, which is close to around 100 million British Pounds in 2012 value.

Tower Bridge Features

The Tower Bridge is composed of two towers that are tied together at the upper level via two horizontal walkways. This is designed to withstand the horizontal forces that are exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge at both ends of the span from the land going to the two towers on each side. The two robust towers carry the vertical forces that act upon the whole bridge. The central span is 200 feet or 61 meters long. Two bascules or leaves are split equally between the two towers which can be raised to an angle of up to 86 degrees in order to allow river traffic to pass through. The machinery operating the bascules is located at the base of each tower. The Tower Bridge has an overall length of 800 feet or 244 meters. The towers, designed with a brick facade following the Victorian Gothic style, stand 213 feet or 65 meters high. The pedestrian walkways atop the two towers are 143 feet or 44 meters above the river during high tide.

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