Millennium Bridge London: Quirky bylaw means you may see something unexpected on the ‘wobbly bridge’

According to the Port of London Thames Bylaws, a "bundle of straw" may need to be hung beneath the bridge while it is being cleaned and repaired.
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Eagle-eyed visitors to central London over the next three weeks may notice something odd hanging from the Millennium Bridge - a bundle of straw.

The capital’s famous ‘wobbly bridge’ has begun a three-week deep clean and revamp, meaning it is closed to the public until November 5.

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During that period, it is likely the contractor will have to complete works beneath the river crossing. And it is this that means the straw, under an old bylaw, must be hung.

According to the Port of London Thames Bylaws, 36.2: “When the headroom of an arch or span of a bridge is reduced from its usual limits, but that arch or span is not closed to navigation, the person in control of the bridge must suspend from the centre of that arch or span by day a bundle of straw large enough to be conspicuous and by night a white light.”

A City Bridge Foundation (CBF) spokesperson confirmed the straw may need to be hung at times, though noted “the vast majority of the work will be on the bridge and won’t affect navigation”.

Prior to the bridge’s closure, CBF chairman Giles Shilson said:​“Since it opened to mark the new millennium, the bridge has become a much loved and very well-used fixture on the London landscape, but it is starting to show its age.

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“The separation layer under the bridge deck has started to degrade, which means it’s having an adverse effect on the bridge deck and needs addressing urgently.

“Replacing this layer is a time-consuming process, meaning we have no option but to close the bridge for three weeks and to work round the clock to get it done as quickly as possible.

“We’re sorry for any inconvenience but hope people will understand we do need to do this work, and will see the benefits after we give the bridge a much-needed deep clean that will leave it looking as good as new.”

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He previously told LondonWorld he is hoping to have as many as possible preserved while the bridge is cleaned and repaired, though a CBF spokesperson said a “limited” number would be kept.

At the time of publication, LondonWorld understands negotiations remain ongoing.

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