Millennium Bridge is an innovative structure that crosses over the Thames.
London's Millennium Bridge
London's Millennium Bridge is the first pedestrian river crossing over the Thames in central London for more than a century.
As an innovative and complex structure the Millennium Bridge has been designed to achieve what may appear a simple form. The wide aluminium deck is flanked by stainless steel balustrades and is supported by cables to each side. These cables dip below the deck at mid span enabling unimpeded views of London.
It is a 325m steel bridge linking the city of London at St. Paul's Cathedral with the Tate Modern Gallery at Bank side. The bridge is a very shallow suspension bridge where the highly tensioned cables sag 2.3m over the 144m of the central span, a span to dip ratio of 63:1. This is around 6 times shallower than a conventional suspension bridge.
The Millennium Bridge opened to the public on 10 June 2000 when an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people crossed it. As with all bridge structures, the Millennium Bridge is subject to a degree of movement. However, when large groups of people were crossing, greater than expected sideways movements occurred. The maximum sway of the deck was approximately 70mm. In order to fully investigate and resolve this phenomenon the decision was taken to close the bridge on 12 June. The research indicated that the movement was caused by the sideways loads we generate when walking. Chance correlation of our footsteps when we walk in a crowd generated slight sideways movements of the bridge. It then became more comfortable for people to walk in synchronization with the bridge movement. The sway movement is not specific to the Millennium Bridge. The same excessive sway movement could occur on other bridges, future or existing, with a lateral frequency under ~1.3 Hz and with a sufficient number of pedestrians.
The Millennium Bridge represents its time in the tradition of the many bridges that span the Thames in central London.
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