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Office worker Fred Ruth
"Its a very beautiful thing"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 9 May, 2000, 17:32 GMT 18:32 UK
Sci-fi bridge looks to the future
The Queen on the Millennium Bridge
The Queen takes her first steps onto the Millennium Bridge
By BBC News Online's Denise Winterman

The Millennium Bridge is inspired by the sci-fi heroes of Norman Foster's youth and looks every inch the futuristic structure the architect intended.

At its dedication ceremony on Tuesday he said the bridge "looked wonderful and felt wonderful to be on".


The Millennium Bridge
The Millennium Bridge will be open to public in June

"It is everything I imagined, I am very happy," he said as he gazed across the London skyline.

Just as the comic book superheroes captured the imagination of the young Lord Foster all those years ago, the bridge is set to inspire future generations.

Built of steel, with stainless steel balustrades and an aluminium deck, it has caught the mood of the new millennium, seamlessly blending architecture, art and engineering.

Futuristic

But just as importantly it has captured the hearts and minds of the public.

The crowds at the dedication ceremony enthused about the bridge's futuristic sweep - designed to look like a fine metal ribbon by day and a blade of light when floodlit at night.



It gives you such a sense of freedom and space

London resident Claire Days

London resident Claire Days said: "It is absolutely breathtaking. It is gives you such an amazing sense of freedom and space.

"I saw the plans in a newspaper when they were originally drawn up but I never believed it would be so beautiful. It is a fabulous addition to London."

Office worker Fred Ruth said: "It is a very practical thing, it is a very beautiful thing and very meaningful for the new millennium."

Blade of light

At present you need super human powers to get across as delays in its construction mean the last third has not yet been built.

But such hitches did not detract from Tuesday's celebrations.

The Queen and Prince Philip walked through swathes of orange and pink flags held by schoolchildren to get to the 16m bridge.

They were followed by London's great and good, including its new mayor Ken Livingstone.


The Queen on the bridge
The Queen admires the view from the bridge

After the Queen dedicated it to the "people of Southwark and of the City of London and to all who shall pass over it from all over the world", fireworks were set off and a specially composed fanfare sounded from each side of the river.

When the official ceremony was over a party atmosphere broke out. People swarmed onto the bridge and a steel band struck up in the sunshine.

When it is opened to the public on 10 June, the 320m-long crossing will run from St Paul's Cathedral across to Southwark.

It is the first pedestrian-link across the river and is designed to give people views of London undisturbed by vehicles and pollution - something long overdue according to those at the ceremony.

"Being able to get across the river without struggling with the traffic will make my life much easier," said Mr Ruth. "Thank you Lord Foster."

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