Tower Bridge’s grab chains

Project Type
Inspection and Report

The iconic Tower Bridge stands proudly above one of the busiest sections of the Thames. As part of measures to increase river safety on the Thames, five layers of grab chains are fixed to the piers to provide a handhold for anyone who may have entered the water.

The City of London Corporation requested an inspection to establish how much life remains in the chains and what improvements could be made. 

Beckett Rankine inspected the chains from a vessel, a far less straightforward method than usual given the navigational challenges of such bridge arches. To mitigate this challenge, we worked with the Port of London Authority on a procedure for safe inspection, including designing and manufacturing tiger boards for the client to keep that aided the safe inspection on this occasion, plus for any future inspections they may need.  

We focused on four zones; the north and south foreshore abutments, plus the two supporting piers.  We identified a small number of chains and fixture replacements to ensure their integrity and recommended that new grab chains are added to the abutments. This would make the grab chains as safe as possible, as well as increase their availability to river users.  

We also suggested replacements for timber fenders and rubbing strips on the abutments that would avoid risks to navigation too.