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Art installation blowing out of control in Oxford Street

Oxford Street was brought to a standstill after a giant inflatable ball erected as part of London’s Lumiere festival began blowing uncontrollably in the wind.

All lanes were closed to traffic while workers attempted to secure the white ball above the Oxford Circus junction during rush hour on Wednesday.

Scores of shocked witnesses posted images of the installation – likened to Star Wars’ Death Star – blowing around in 25mph gusts and almost hitting the tops of buses.

It is believed the orb became untethered due to the high winds and consequently got tangled up with Christmas lights.

Oxford Circus remained closed on all approaches at 9pm as the giant ball continued to cause mayhem. Buses were placed on diversion and suffered major delays.

One Twitter user commented: “Who could predict that installing a giant balloon above Oxford Circus on the windiest day of the year would go horribly wrong.”

Another questioned: “Why exactly is there a giant ball in Oxford Circus? What purpose could it possibly have worth holding up all that traffic for?”

Many likened the giant orb to the death star from Star Wars or a bizarre Christmas decoration as it blew around above one of London’s busiest hot spots.

It is believed to be part of the Lumiere London festival, which first came to the capital in 2016 and sees artists create works that light buildings and public spaces.

Taking place from January 18-21, installations are being erected in areas including King’s Cross, the West End, Westminster, Victoria and the South Bank.

Transport for London provided updates on the traffic status in Oxford Street throughout the evening. At 9pm they said: “Oxford Circus at the junction of Regent Street – Remains closed on all approaches due to an unsafe structure. Regent St is also closed northbound at Conduit St & southbound at Cavendish Place.”

Workers were eventually seen taking the ball down entirely in an apparent safety precaution. The roads were all reopened by 10pm.

Posted in: News on January 5, 2018 by...