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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 September 2005, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Bridge closed after barge crash
Barge which hit Battersea Bridge, is moved
The James Prior was carrying gravel when it struck Battersea Bridge
One of London's oldest bridges could be shut to traffic for weeks after it was hit by a 200-tonne gravel barge.

Engineers were at Battersea Bridge on Wednesday, inspecting damage caused when the James Prior got wedged under one of the arches the night before.

Three people on board escaped injury when the vessel hit the road bridge. It is not known how it became wedged.

It is thought the bridge was quite badly damaged and may not open to cars for weeks and to buses for months.

Engineers will return to the bridge at 1700 BST in a boat with a special hoist to allow them to inspect the arches.

A Transport for London spokeswoman said they would have a better idea on Thursday when the bridge would re-open.

BBC London correspondent Andrew Winstanley said there was a high tide and the vessel was riding high in the water because it was not carrying any gravel. It was moved when the tide went out.

The bridge is currently closed to traffic both ways but is open to pedestrians.

Nearby Chelsea and Albert bridges are expected to take the bulk of the diverted traffic .


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