As temperatures reached record highs yesterday, street sweepers were called in to cool down Tower Bridge to prevent it jamming shut due to heat expansion.
London saw temperatures surpass 37C, while the 38.1C recorded in Cambridge was the UK’s highest-ever recorded temperature for July.
The extreme heat caused London’s most iconic bridge to expand on both sides, leading to fears that the 15mm gap separating the two segments of the bridge would shrink.
It is estimated that the bridge, which is 76m long, can expand by 30mm in extreme heat such as that experienced yesterday.
The City of London Corporation sent in a fleet of street sweepers, which use fully-electric vehicles, to spray cold water over the bridge for an hour prior to each of the four scheduled lifts.
The bridge opens four times a day as well as carrying around 10,000 vehicles and 12,000 pedestrians from one side of the River Thames to the other.
“On a day of such extreme heat, we’re playing our part in ensuring that London stays on the move, including at iconic locations like Tower Bridge,” said chair of the City of London Corporation’s Port Health and Environmental Services Committee, Jeremy Simons.
“With the help of a state-of-the-art sweeping and cleaning fleet, our staff have been working around the clock to minimise disruption, while ensuring there is minimal impact on the environment.
“With their efforts and quick thinking, we’re making sure that Londoners and visitors can enjoy the sunny weather and get on with their day.”