Bridge of Life and a Streak of Light (Millennium Bridge London)

Sunday April 1, 2018

I have been staying in London for a while, but I have not heard about London Millennium Bridge until my friend from Canada visited and this was the only landmark in London she would have liked to see. She had seen the rest of the tourist destinations around London. I am glad we found it and I was able to see it for myself. I like bridges so much. When I was young I was fascinated about how bridges are designed and constructed. Bridges brought me back the memories when I was still a little girl going to the place of my grandparents. The bus we rode was passing through the shallow rivers without a bridge, travelling through crystal clear water and rocks. While living with them, I spent the day collecting flowers and leaves that served as my toys to engage my time since “lolo” and “lola” were each busy doing their own thing. I used to sit on a tiny wooden footbridge in front of their property while watching the clear water of that small brook where some fish swam. The cool breeze and the sparkle of the sun bouncing through the water was mesmerizing. That’s what makes London Millennium Bridge an exciting experience for me. The Thames River is not as clear as the rivers in my recollection, the surroundings not as quiet but I am in London not in Gabaldon. Maybe you are not interested in bridges like I am, but after reading this you would likely want to visit it too. Artistic and Brilliant Structure London Millennium Bridge is the first pedestrian-only crossing built over the Thames in Central London in more than 100 years since Tower Bridge (commonly mistaken by many visitors as the London Bridge). They started building it in 1996, opened by the Queen on June 10, 2000 and closed to the public two days after its opening for another 2 years because of more than the usual, expected lateral movement. Further analysis showed that the movement was brought about by synchronised pedestrian footfall which was unknown to the engineering world. London Millennium Bridge is a result of an outstanding collaboration among the best British Architects (Foster and Partners), British Engineers (Arup) and Sculptor, Sir Anthony Caro. The testing and research of the structural problems were conducted by University of South Hampton, Imperial College, London and the final analysis was made by Arup (Engineers). After thorough analysis and testing, they installed dampers under the deck to reduce the lateral movement felt by the pedestrians. The improvement made by the engineers resulted in the upgrading of codes or standards for bridge construction worldwide. Now that we know that the structure is unique as it also established a new standard in structural engineering in the world, let’s explore the experience of walking on it. The steel structure having an aluminium deck with stainless steel balustrades enables unhindered views of London that connects the City of London at St. Paul’s Cathedral with the Tate Modern Gallery at Bankside. We started our journey along Southwark Bridge passing through Shakespeare Globe, and there we found the modern steel suspension bridge so different from the existing concrete London and Tower Bridges. Connecting these two important locations obstructed by river Thames saves so much time and energy for the visitors and passers-by. That is what bridge is for, to connect two locations which have an obstruction. At night you will see the neon lights of the beautiful city of London and from afar the bridge appears to be a streak of light above the dark river whose brightness depends upon the glowing lights of the buildings in the city. Walking towards Saint Paul Cathedral at night time on the bridge is like walking away from the present time and going back to a spiritual heritage of this city chosen by God to help many other European countries spread the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world centuries ago.

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