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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Friday, 22 February, 2002, 00:09 GMT
Millennium Bridge reopens
Millennium bridge
The 18.2m bridge had swayed alarmingly
The Millennium Bridge in London is reopening on Friday after two years of engineering work to stop it wobbling.

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.

Engineers test bridge
Arup carried out marching tests
In February 2001 the Millennium Bridge Trust announced that it had raised the 5m needed to carry out the recommended modifications to the bridge.

They involved the installation of 91 dampers, similar to car shock absorbers, designed to reduce the movement of the 350-metre structure.

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

Following walking tests on the bridge using 2,000 volunteers it was felt the bridge was safe to be used by the public.

'Blade of light'

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 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.

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

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

The BBC's Robert Nisbet
"The engineering really has been tested today"
See also:

19 Feb 02 | England
'Wobbly' Millennium Bridge fixed
01 Feb 02 | Newsmakers
Lord Foster: Stormin' Norman
30 Jan 02 | England
Volunteers test bridge for wobbles
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