Tower Bridge Closure

The iconic Thames crossing will close to traffic from October 1 while crucial repairs are carried out, with drivers, cyclists and passengers warned of potential “chaos” on both sides of the river.

More details have now emerged of the closure, with motorists being directed to use Southwark Bridge southbound and London Bridge northbound.

Tower Bridge is just outside the congestion charge zone and vehicles following the signed diversion through the edge of the zone will not have to pay the £11.50 daily fee.

Cyclists have been suggested an alternative route which is the reverse of the driver’s diversion, meaning northbound on Southward Bridge and southbound on London Bridge.

Pedestrians will also be unable to cross the Victorian landmark on three consecutive weekends, beginning Saturday 26 November.

A limited free ferry service will be running on those weekends, while alternative routes and walking maps will be available.

Three bus routes will be affected. Route 42 will stop when it reaches the south side of Tower Bridge and route 78 will divert via London Bridge and will stop running at Finsbury Circus bus station.

Route RV1 will be on a full diversion, running from Tower Hill via Eastcheap and London Bridge.

The City of London Corporation is apparently planning the works on the 122-year-old bridge to coincide with the quietest time of the year for riverboat traffic.

Works being undertaken include replacing the decking on the bridge’s bascules plus removing rust, mechanical repairs and road resurfacing.

Chris Hayward, chairman of the City’s planning and transport committee, said: “This decision to close Tower Bridge has not been taken lightly. We will use this time to repair, refurbish, and upgrade London’s most iconic bridge, which has gone without significant engineering works for more than 35 years.”

The grade 1 listed bridge carries about 40,000 people including 21,000 vehicles a day.

Black cab drivers have calculated that even the shortest river crossing could take up to 30 minutes longer at peak times.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, had previously said: “Why couldn’t this be done in August, the quietest time of the year? It’s going to be chaotic as Tower Bridge is on the edge of the congestion zone and you can cross without paying.

“This highlights the absolute farce of London not having another river crossing. We’re the greatest city on the planet and we can’t cross the river.”

The Tower Bridge exhibition will remain open during the works, with views of the works in action on offer from the glass walkway.

For more information visit Transport for London or the City of London Corporation.