Albert Bridge is beautiful but it is not strong. Even when it was
opened in 1873 soldiers were instructed to break step when crossing
it. The bridge is a fragile cast and wrought iron structure with
timber decking built like so many other London bridges for horses and
carriages. It was never designed to take the day to day punishment of
thousands of motorists on their daily commute. Around 5.8 million
vehicles cross the bridge every year.
Today, it has a weight limit of 2.5 tonnes but it is deteriorating fast and if we do not carry out major restoration it will, in time, have to be closed, permanently.
The bridge was closed to traffic on 15 February 2010 until the end of 2011 for major strengthening, repairs, repainting and relighting.
The bridge reopened in December last year looking very spick and span with its new paint job and a new ‘All troops must break step....” notice. The sign is now superfluous as the only troops likely to march across here were based at nearby Chelsea barracks which closed in 2008 (and was sold for £959 million to a developer. That is a lot of money for a building site).