Millennium Bridge

The Wobbly Bridge

Designed by, yes that's right, [Norman Foster]?, the Millennium Bridge opened in June 2000 as London's first new bridge in over a century. It was hyped to be a "blade of light" and "an absolute statement of our capabilities at the beginning of the 21st century". Then, when they opened it, they found out that the combined footsteps of thousands of people crossing it caused the 18m beast to sway sickeningly. It was closed within days, and remained closed for a year and a half whilst they fixed the wobble. Another wonderful New Labour celebration of the new millennium, just like the Millennium Dome (I recall that both this and the Millennium Dome were projects initiated by the preceding Conservative Government -- Aegidian).

The BBC has an analysis.

It's worth noting that Foster admitted that he'd overruled the objections of his engineering staff. He only admitted this once, and everyone seems conveniently to have forgotten it since. -- Roger

I think the Gateshead Millennium Bridge is much better. --Earle

I walked across the bridge the last evening it was open, and it wasn't swaying noticably (although the traffic on it was very light); it's remarkably open and a very pleasant piece of architecture. For what it's worth, I agree the technical problems couldn't have been foreseen. -- Blech

I very much enjoyed the experience of walking this bridge in March 2002. It was a grey, overcast day when we crossed, but it was still breathtaking. The Thames is a huge river at this point and the bridge is not that wide. At the centre you have the marvelous St. Paul's to one side, the astonishing Tate Modern to the other and before and aft of you is the murky brown bredth of London's river. The moment was quite something. It is equally interesting to note that the bridge was quite busy yet there were few who just stood still to enjoy the view - which is amazing. No noticable sway, though there was the constant vibration of people's feet -- Robin

OS X co-ord: 532065     OS Y co-ord: 180661     (Latitude: 51.508942 Longitude: -0.096762)
Last edited 2004-11-29 16:45:09 (version 12; diff). List all versions.