image sourceNoah Brownimage captionPolice have warned drivers to avoid the area around the famous London landmark

London's Tower Bridge has become stuck open causing major traffic issues in the capital.

The famous landmark was scheduled to open this afternoon to allow a large wooden tall ship through, but it appears to have become jammed in place.

City of London Police said the 127-year-old crossing had been closed to both traffic and pedestrians "due to technical failure".

Drivers have been warned to avoid the area.

image sourceNoah Brownimage captionCity of London Police said the bridge had suffered a technical failure

Approach roads to the bridge have been shut while repairs are carried out.

Transport for London (TfL) reported that traffic was slow moving on both sides of the river.

The bridge, which took eight years to build and opened in 1894, normally opens about 800 times every year.

A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation, which manages the bridge, said investigations into the failure were taking place but the source of the fault was currently unknown.

"We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible," they added.

Tower Bridgeimage sourceGetty Images/Museum of London

  • Construction work began on 22 April 1886 based on a design by City of London architect Sir Horace Jones
  • It was opened to much celebration by the Prince and Princess of Wales on 30 June 1894
  • The crossing is formed of two "bascules" which move around an off-centre pivot, allowing them to rise (the word bascule is French and can be translated as seesaw)
  • Steam was originally used to power the bridge but it was converted to electricity in 1976
  • Upon its completion the bridge was considered the largest and most sophisticated bascule bridge ever made
  • In 1952 a number 78 bus carrying 20 passengers had to leap from one bascule to the other when the bridge began to rise while it was being driven over