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Blackfriars Bridge frame lifted into place over Thames River

The frame of the Blackfriars Bridge is lowered onto its abutments following an extensive restoration, Aug. 15, 2018.
The frame of the Blackfriars Bridge is lowered onto its abutments following an extensive restoration, Aug. 15, 2018. Jaclyn Carbone/980 CFPL

After nine long months of rehabilitation, the frame of London’s historic 142-year-old Blackfriars Bridge is once again back in its rightful place over the Thames River.

With the help of a massive crane, crews spent around 30 minutes Wednesday morning lifting the frame of the wrought iron bridge up from the western side of the Thames, where workers have spent weeks welding pieces of the bridge together, and swinging it into place onto its abutments.

WATCH: Facebook Live of Blackfriars Bridge lift.
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READ MORE: Historic Blackfriars Bridge is coming back, bit by bit

The bridge, built in 1875, was closed to vehicles in 2013 and closed to pedestrians in October 2017 ahead of an intensive and long-awaited $7.9 million rehabilitation, conducted by McLean Taylor Construction Ltd. and Dillon Consulting.

PHOTOS: Workers weld together pieces of Blackfriars Bridge

These rivets are an old bridge-building technique that transportation manager Doug McRae says contractors researched during the rehabilitation project, to keep the bridge true to its original character.
These rivets are an old bridge-building technique that transportation manager Doug McRae says contractors researched during the rehabilitation project, to keep the bridge true to its original character. Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL
A construction worker welds one of the arch's bearings to part of its frame.
A construction worker welds one of the arch's bearings to part of its frame. Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL
The frame of the arch lies on its side on a "work table," on the west bank of the Thames River.
The frame of the arch lies on its side on a "work table," on the west bank of the Thames River. Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL
Once the 12 pieces of this first arch are welded back together, it'll be lifted up vertically.
Once the 12 pieces of this first arch are welded back together, it'll be lifted up vertically. Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

Though the structural frame of the bridge is finally in place, there remains much work to be done.

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“Floor beams need to be added, the deck – so the walking and riding surface – the pedestrian railing, a whole lot of components need to be added still, and that’s finicky work that needs to be done over the river,” said Doug McRae, the city’s manager of transportation, planning and design.

“Once all that’s done, some final touch-up painting, and coating, to make sure it’s a durable, resistant structure for another 80 years.”

McRae said the city expects the bridge to be fully open in November.

PHOTOS: Photos of Blackfriars Bridge

A barebones Blackfriars Bridge prior to it being lifted for rehabilitation work, Nov. 25, 2017.
A barebones Blackfriars Bridge prior to it being lifted for rehabilitation work, Nov. 25, 2017. Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL
Blackfriars Bridge as seen in July 2015.
Blackfriars Bridge as seen in July 2015. Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL
Blackfriars Bridge as seen from the east bank of the Thames River, circa 1875. The old Carling's Brewery can be seen in the background.
Blackfriars Bridge as seen from the east bank of the Thames River, circa 1875. The old Carling's Brewery can be seen in the background. O'Connor & Lancaster via Ivey Family London Room, London Public Library
Blackfriars Bridge as seen from the east bank of the Thames River, circa 1880. The old Carling's Brewery can be seen in the background to the right.
Blackfriars Bridge as seen from the east bank of the Thames River, circa 1880. The old Carling's Brewery can be seen in the background to the right. Ivey Family London Room, London Public Library
Blackfriars Bridge as seen in an aerial photograph from 1922 taken by the Dept. of Lands and Forests.
Blackfriars Bridge as seen in an aerial photograph from 1922 taken by the Dept. of Lands and Forests. Map and Data Centre/Western Libraries/Western University
Blackfriars Bridge as seen from the east bank of the Thames River, circa 1930.
Blackfriars Bridge as seen from the east bank of the Thames River, circa 1930. Ivey Family London Room, London Public Library
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The eastern end of Blackfriars Bridge, circa 1930.
The eastern end of Blackfriars Bridge, circa 1930. Ivey Family London Room, London Public Library

The bridge was designated a heritage structure in 1992 and is one of a small number of bridges like it that are still in use.

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In 2016, the bridge was recognized as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.