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Ordsall Chord Bridge Lifted into Place

A landmark moment for the Ordsall Chord rail project occurred today when the twin network arches were lifted and fixed into position on a new bridge over the River Irwell.

The BDP designed bridge will form the centrepiece for the project which is 300m of track and a series of new bridges and viaducts, connecting Piccadilly and Victoria stations in Manchester for the first time.

Peter Jenkins architect director said: “The BDP team has designed, with engineers from WSP, Aecom and Mott Macdonald, an 89m 600 tonne single-span network arch bridge, the second-longest in the world to carry twin heavy-rail tracks.

This design uses inclined hangers which cross each other at least twice instead of vertical hangers, which allows for a more elegant design that is thinner and uses less material. This is particularly important due to the proximity with Grade I and II listed buildings. The arches taper elegantly to a fine point towards their ends as they approach George Stephenson’s original 1830 bridge over the Irwell.

I still have my original sketch of the bridge concept from when we started work on this exciting and challenging project over five years ago. It is therefore hugely satisfying to reach the dramatic moment of the bridge arches being lifted into place over the river. I’m very proud to have been part of the team who have designed, developed and constructed this massively significant project for Manchester and the north of England.”

BDP is designing all the major architectural and urban realm elements of the project, including the landscaping and lighting to the important public spaces and heritage features beneath the bridges and viaducts.

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