Ordsall Chord bridge starting to take shape

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Twin arches of the bridge which forms an essential part of the mammoth civil engineering rail project the Ordsall Chord were being fixed into position today.

They were lifted and put in place on a new bridge over the River Irwell in Salford yesterday (Tuesday, February 21).

They are the design vision of the BDP Manchester studio and its transport architect, director Peter Jenkins.

The bridge includes a dip in the steelwork that the project team affectionately calls “the swoosh.”

The hangers that hold the arch together are diagonal and cross each other at least twice.

Once completed, the bridge will become the centrepiece of the Ordsall Chord, which when finished by December 2017, will provide new and direct links from the north to Manchester Airport, and help support Network Rail’s Great North Rail Project, part of the wider Railway Upgrade Plan.

It will link Manchester Piccadilly with Manchester Victoria – recently redesigned by Jenkins – for the first time and unlock new routes, improve connections and provide journey-times across the north of England.

The Ordsall Chord line is 300m of track and a series of new bridges and viaducts in the site of the first passenger station in the world, at Liverpool Road in Manchester. BDP has designed these structures in conjunction with engineers from Parsons Brinkerhoff, Aecom and Mott MacDonald.

Jenkins said: “The BDP team has designed, with the engineers from WSP, Aecom and Mott Macdonald, an 89-metre 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 1 and II-listed buildings. The arches elegantly taper 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 BDP 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.”
Programme manager Allan Parker from Network Rail said: “This latest piece of work signifies we are getting ever closer to the Ordsall Chord being completed.

“Once finished, passengers from across the north will have more direct services to Manchester Airport and a reduction in congestion due to some services from the east being rerouted through to Victoria station first.  

“This will mean an increase in services as more trains will be able to run to Piccadilly.”