USL Ekspan were selected as Principal Contractor by The City of London Corporation to fabricate and install two new glass floors on Tower Bridge’s West and East Elevated Walkways.
West Walkway underside - roadsside view looking up at the fitted glass panels
The delivery of this £1 million funded project would provide visitors and tourists alike unique views of bridge lifts 42 metres above the River Thames and stunning day and night vistas of the Capital.
USL Ekspan’s Workscope
Works commenced with an initial survey and assessment of the current walkway floors to finalise the design and manufacture of the steel supporting structural frames to hold the glass panels. An underslung gantry was then installed to act as a working platform to undertake the works from. The existing oak flooring and substructure local to the final glass panel positions were carefully removed in various stages - starting with removal of 20mm thick oak boards, 18mm plywood boards, 45mm thick PIR insulation boards and rubber matting. The screed layers, after marking the frame locations, were broken and removed to reveal the original steel flooring. The steel flooring was marked to size for cutting and removing in sections before new steel framework and glass panels could be installed. The original surrounding oak flooring was then reinstated to complete the installation.
Cutting the existing steel floor
Each walkway is fitted with 6 reinforced glass panels (each weighing 530kg) supported within a fabricated carbon steel frame weighing approximately 1000kg. The glass panels combined measure a length of 11m by 1.8m width per walkway.
Tower Bridge is a Grade 1 listed heritage site, this combined with working on a tidal waterway above the Thames in the very heart of London’s thriving hub, meant this project was faced with numerous challenges, making planning logistics for deliveries and all work processes deadline critical for both engineers and sub-contractors.
Steel floor section lifted after cutting
Transportation of site materials, equipment and glass panels, and all work shifts/ operations were planned to accommodate the movement of working and residential public, road access constraints, pre-booked events and noise pollution. USL Ekspan ensured the walkways original steel lattice structure had been preserved and was visible through the glass flooring. The existing structural t-section cross bearers remained in place as planned and the new framework connected directly to the existing primary steel work.
This modern feature gives Tower Bridge it’s most significant change since its opening in 1894.
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