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Beer bottle smashes Tower Bridge's glass walkway

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A member of staff at Tower Bridge’s new high-level, transparent walkway managed to shatter a pane of glass on the attraction after dropping a bottle of beer

The £1million Purcell-designed visitor attraction, which opened earlier this month, was damaged on Saturday evening when the bottle cracked the top layer of one of six half-tonne panes of glass which make up the walkway.

The cracked pane was further damaged later in the evening when a woman walked across it in stiletto heels.

Managers at the attraction are said to be ‘disappointed’ that the walkway has been smashed so soon after it opened. Speaking to ITN Tower Bridge head Chris Earlie said: ‘We are gutted it’s happened in the first couple of weeks when it’s been open to the public but it’s completely safe.

‘We should have said no glass on the glass section of the floor. It was a bit shortsighted of us.’

The new walkway remained open despite the incident, with a mat places above the glass until it was replaced.

Earlie added: ‘The floor has five layers of glass with this sacrificial layer on top - it’s there so we can replace it if it gets scratched.

‘We are still open to the public and if we had any concerns we would have closed.’

Each walkway is 11 metres long and 1.8 metres wide, and made up of six glass panels that each weighs 530 kilogrammes.

Purcell’s design has preserved the walkways’ original steel latice structure, but the new glazing is supported by a carbon steel framework. The design for the walkway was drawn up after Purcell was appointed to create a conservation management plan for the 120-year-old river crossing.

The Tower Bridge incident is not the only glass tourist attraction which has cracked, earlier this year a family visiting the Willis Tower in Chicago were shocked when the viewing platform on the 103rd floor cracked underneath their weight.

The family were told by staff before they sat down to pose for photos that the floor was ‘unbreakable’.

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