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London’s Tower Bridge stuck open due to a technical fault

A boat sails down the River Thames in London, Monday Aug. 9, 2021 in front of Tower Bridge that is stuck in the fully open position due to a technical fault. (AP Photo/Tony Hicks)

LONDON (AP) — London’s Tower Bridge was stuck with its roadway arms raised Monday afternoon, snarling traffic on both sides of the River Thames.

Images of the 127-year-old drawbridge, one of several spans that connect the northern and southern parts of the British capital, show the two halves of the roadway pointing skyward with vehicles backed up on either side. The bridge remained stuck at 6 p.m., (1700 GMT/1300 EDT) more than three hours after the problems began.

“Due to a technical issue, Tower Bridge is currently stuck in a raised position,’’ the City of London Corp., which owns the bridge, said in a statement. “We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

The bridge opens about 800 times a year to allow large ships to pass, with the times arranged at least 24 hours in advance.

Tower Bridge was repaired in 2006 after the mechanism became stuck four times the previous year. Malfunctions have been less frequent since then, with the last incident reported on Aug. 22, 2020, when it was stuck for more than an hour.

In May of 1997, U.S. President Bill Clinton was separated from Prime Minister Tony Blair when the bridge opened before his motorcade could cross. In that case there was no technical fault. Just bad timing.