Just two weeks after the grand opening of the soaring glass-floored walkway at Tower Bridge, and one of its panels has already shattered. The cause? A stiletto and dropped beer bottle. Sounds a lot like the title of a romance novel, huh?
According to The Independent, a visitor dropped a glass bottle on Friday night causing a fracture on one of the panes featured in the attraction, which sits on the Tower’s upper walkways at 138 feet high, overlooking the River Thames. The floor remained open, however, until a woman caused further shattering when she walked over the cracked pane with stilettos.
At 11m long and 1.8m wide, the toughened glass West Walkway is comprised of six panels, which are 68mm thick, each weighing approximately 530kg. Dubbed the “wow project,” the site offers tourists and locals a distinct perspective of the world-famous bridge lifting, as well as the boat and car traffic below. The floor also exposes the steel latticework of the bridge itself as a number of steel panels were removed to clear the view, with the condition that they could be restored.
The walkway’s manager reported to ITV News that no one was at risk of falling through the pane and into the waters below, since the damage only occurred to the top layer of glass – one of five in total.
The head of Tower Bridge, Chris Earlie, told the news station that he was “gutted” about the events that took place, citing it may very well lead to stricter rules for guests.
“We are gutted it’s happened in the first couple of weeks when it’s been open to the public but it’s completely safe,” Earlie said. “We should have said no glass on the glass section of the floor. It was a bit shortsighted of us.”
Originally, the bridge’s walkways were created to ensure that even during a bridge lift, pedestrians would be able to cross the river unobstructed. However, the paths were closed in 1910 – till their reopening in 1982 – after they had become an area for “prostitutes and pickpockets.”
Earlie explained that the top layer of glass was designed to be easily replaceable in case of any incidents. Referring to why the walkway had not closed since the pane’s damage, he said would have closed it if there had been “any concerns.”