MAGDALEN Bridge will be open again for May Morning celebrations, but anyone thinking of jumping has been warned water levels are “dangerously low”.
Tuesday’s annual celebration of spring is expected to attract lower numbers than last year, when it fell on a Sunday and drew crowds of 18,000.
Despite recent rainfall the River Cherwell looks likely to be as low as in 2005 when 40 people were hurt when they plunged into the water. The bridge was then closed on May Morning until last year.
Alan Weir, emergency services manager at South Central Ambulance Service, said: “Last year the public were sensible and didn’t jump.
“This year with the drought conditions we are concerned that the water level could be lower and anyone who does jump risks serious or life-changing injuries.
“In 2005 one individual suffered a spinal fracture.”
Oxford City Council is making arrangements that will keep Magdalen Bridge open and will use barriers and security guards to thwart would-be jumpers.
The council has again appointed security company Select which will be working with the police to make sure the event passes off safely.
The Magdalen College bells will ring out loud and clear after a £75,000 restoration project saw the 10 historic bells, which date back to 1410, retuned and returned to the tower in February.
The Magdalen College choir will sing the 17th century Hymnus Eucharisticus from the college’s Great Tower at 6am.
Across the city there will be early morning celebrations, with the Story Museum opening its doors and offering visitors bacon sandwiches.
The Other Worlds exhibition opens to the public on May 1 at 9am and will wow crowds with 25 story scenes created in different rooms of the museum building.
Pubs, bars and cafes opening early across the city include The White Horse, Port Mahon and All Bar One.
The Truck Store in Cowley Road will also be putting on an early morning event with a Truck session from 6.30am with three Oxford bands.
Later in the evening The Old Fire Station in George Street will mark the day with a jazz improvision gig at 7.30pm.
ON THE BUSES
Magdalen Bridge is closed to traffic between 4.30am and 9am and alternative arrangements have been made for bus routes.
Stagecoach bus routes 1, 3, 8, 9, 10, 12, will be unable to serve the High Street until 9am and there will be a diversion along Donnington Bridge Road and Abingdon Road.
Buses on routes 1, 10 and 12 will depart from opposite the normal stop on St Aldate’s.
Buses on route three will be unable to serve Iffley Road between Donnington Bridge and The Plain.
Passengers can catch diverted buses from routes 1, 8, 9, 10 and 12 from the opposite side of the road.
Oxford Bus Company buses will be unable to serve the Queens Lane Bus Stops K1, K2, K3, K4, K5, J1, J2 and J3.
Services arriving into Oxford will be diverted from the Plain, Iffley Road, Weirs Lane, Donnington Bridge Road then via Abingdon Road up to Speedwell Street where normal route will be resumed.
The X90, LHR and LGW will leave from S2 on Speedwell Street, the city4 will leave from bus stop H1 on St Aldate’s, city5 will leave from bus stop H1 on St Aldate’s, city13 will leave from bus stop H1 on St Aldate’s, the city X13 will leave from bus stop H1 on St Aldate’s, the park & ride 400 will leave from bus stop H1 on St Aldate’s, Brookes-bus U1 will leave from bus stop H1 on St Aldate’s.