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Towering Achievement

14 November 2014 | Updated 01 January 1970

Tower Bridge authorities have described themselves as ‘thrilled’ to unveil the spectacular glass floor across the high-level walkways now open to the public


Available in the West Walkway, the glass floor offers visitors a never-seen-before view of London life, from 42m above the River Thames.

Visitors can look down to spy the red London buses and pedestrians speeding over the famous bridge, while river vessels sail under it with the unforgettable prospect of the bascules being raised beneath their feet.

The glass floor measures 11m long x 1.8m wide and comprises panels weighing 530kg each. Exspan, which had worked with Tower Bridge authorities before, was the main contractor with Glassolutions providing technical design of the glazing elements and the toughened glass.

Glassolutions won the £250,000 contract to design and manufacture the (one-way) glass, which has been inserted into the floor of each of the two 11.5m long walkways on the Grade I listed building.

The existing floors were removed and a steel frame was installed into which the new 69mm thick glass floors, comprising three layers of glass capable of withstanding the weight of six elephants, were inserted. The installation took a 20-strong team to construct it.

Key considerations for the specification of the glass included wind loading, the potential impact should a passing vessel strike the walkways, the durability and strength of the glass as Tower Bridge attracts more than 600,000 visitors a year, and privacy from viewers on the ground.

A spokesman for the architect, Purcell that specialises in these kind of projects, told TWIFM, that the main challenge had been logistical and technical, i.e. installing the glazing in an existing structure of a bridge. The scheme was completed to time and within budget.

The East Walkway will reopen with its own glass floor and far reaching views on Monday, 1 December.


Pictured: The impressive and to some, scary view made possible by a toughened glass on the West Walkway. 

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 14 November 2014


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