September 22, 2014

Struth! The world's most expensive wobbly bridge


IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that within hours of the Queen in June of 2000 officially opening the first bridge across London's River Thames since the Tower Bridge in 1894, and naming it the London Millennium Bridge, locals had instantly re-dubbed it the Wibbly Wobbly Bridge – that's stuck to this day.


Because so wibbly wobbly was it back in 2000, that just two days after opening, the 325m long and GBP18.2m (AU$32m) structure was closed for two years for "sway dampeners" to be fitted to stop an unexpected and disconcerting lateral sway.


Linking the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern Museum on one side of the Thames and St Paul's Cathedral on the other, the pedestrian-only bridge quickly showed it could get up a sway whenever big numbers were crossing on it. And as these crowds would step from side to side in unison to adjust to the sway, that sway simply got bigger, and bigger and bigger…


After being closed for two years the Millennium Bridge is used safely and sway-free today by as many as 2000 people at any one time.


THEY SAID IT: "WHEN a man opens a car door for his wife, it's either a new car – or a new wife." (Prince Philip)

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