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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 13:56 GMT
'Wobbly' Millennium Bridge fixed
Walkers on Millennium Bridge
The 18.2m bridge swayed alarmingly
The Millennium Bridge, which was closed for swaying, will reopen on Friday 22 February.

The 18.2m bridge, central London's first new river crossing for more than a century, was opened on 10 June 2000 but was shut three days later.

Engineers who decided to close the bridge after it began swaying alarmingly blamed the "synchronised footfall" effect of hundreds of people stepping in unison.

In February 2001, following research and studies into the problem, the Millennium Bridge Trust announced that it had raised the 5m needed to carry out the recommended modifications to the bridge.

Engineers test bridge
Arup has carried out marching tests
They involved the installation of 91 dampers, similar to car shock absorbers, designed to reduce the movement of the 350-metre bridge.

Following walking tests on the bridge which were analysed by engineering company Arup it was felt the bridge was safe to be used by the public.

The bridge was designed as the result of a collaboration between the architects, Foster and Partners, the British sculptor, Sir Anthony Caro and the consulting engineers, Arup.

It is the capital's first dedicated pedestrian bridge across the Thames and the first new river crossing in central London for more than 100 years, since the opening of Tower Bridge in 1894.

It links St Paul's Cathedral and the City of London on the north bank with Tate Modern and the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on the south.

The bridge - described as a "blade of light" by promoters - was inaugurated by the Queen in May 2000.

Millennium Bridge
The bridge was described as a "blade of light"

More than 160,000 people crossed the bridge during its opening weekend during which the swaying effect was noticed.

The extreme wobble meant the bridge had to be closed after fears for public safety.

Those who had made it across said they had been surprised by the swaying sensation, comparing the vibration to the feeling of sea-sickness.

Work to correct the problem started in May 2001 and was completed in January this year.

The engineers then tested the modifications using 2,000 volunteers.

Architects, engineers and workers from surrounding offices were marshalled en masse across the bridge, led by the Mayor of Southwark Hilary Wines, to check on the success of repairs.

The test results were analysed by Arup and independent experts.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"They are relieved the embarassing episode is over"
See also:

01 Feb 02 | Newsmakers
Lord Foster: Stormin' Norman
30 Jan 02 | England
Volunteers test bridge for wobbles
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