Catalan Square, Castlefield, Manchester A dramatic curving white steel footbridge which crosses the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield Basin, Merchants Bridge was designed by Whitby Bird Limited (www.whitbybird.com) and the steeIwork contractor was Watson Steel.
Completed in 1996, this torsion structure was selected for a Millennium Product Award amid fierce competition, and connects the Barça Cafe in Catalan Square in Castlefield and the Quay Bar on the other bank. The sweeping dynamic curve of this structure is a product of the computer age, and its white paintwork contrasts dramatically with the red and dark blue brickwork of Castlefield’s older railway viaducts and canal wharfages all around it. It is a fitting centrepiece for the renewal of the Castlefield area of the City of Manchester, and offers the best of 20th century design and engineering while complementing the seven established bridges at the site which cover 200 years of history.
St Mary’s Parsonage, Salford Designed by the Spanish engineer Doctor Santiago Calatrava and completed in 1995, Trinity Bridge marks another major inner city regeneration, this time over the River Irwell, which has always marked the invisible border between the Cities of Salford and Manchester.
The whole structure rests on one single 40 foot pylon – a kind of tent pole – leaned over at a rakish angle, from which the suspending tension cables hang down to suspend the footbridge deck beneath. Its sculptural appearance and white paintwork inject a striking elegance in an area that has long awaited such a development. This area was a dark, dank, long neglected back end to the city, the such a new development has resurrected the area, especially with the ongoing construction of the new Lowry Hotel on the Salford bank of the river. Also on this bank at the end of the bridge is a substantial riverside piazza with gardens and benches offering a welcoming pleasant recreational area for surrounding business workers. This was a joint project between Salford City Council and Salford Pheonix, and was formally opened by the Lord Mayors of Salford and Manchester, symbolising a new and important link between the two cities.
Salford Quays Opposite the Lowry Art Gallery/Centre, this remarkable footbridge, linking Salford to Trafford across the Quays, was designed by W Middleton of Parkman Limited and the main engineering contractors were Christiani and Neilsen; it was completed in 2000 – hence the ‘Millennium’ Bridge. It crosses the Manchester Ship canal near its terminus at the old Manchester Docks, and conveys foot passengers over to Wharfside Road, where the new Imperial War Museum North (by Daniel Libeskind) was opened in July 2002. Its four giant piers each winch the road deck high into the air to provide adequate clearance for large ships to pass beneath into the old Dock area and the redeveloped Lowry Designer Outlet shopping centre.
Hulme Arch Bridge
Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester 13 This dramatic road bridge was designed by Chris Wilkinson Architects, completed in 1990 and engineered by Ove Arup & Partners. Hulme Arch Bridge was one of Manchester’s first new bridges of modern times, created to span the busy Princess Road/Princess Parkway arterial road south of the city centre on its way to Wythenshawe, the M60 and M56 Motorways and Manchester Airport. It stands about 1 mile due south of the city centre.
It has a single span arch which rises almost 30 yards above the carriageway and spans 50 metres in a diagonal formation. Spiralled steel cables suspend the road deck from the arch. In the past few decades, Hulme had become a rather run-down and somewhat controversial district of Manchester – first for the wholesale demolition of its 19th century slum dwellings, then in the 1960s for the construction of huge monolithic concrete high rise tenements which became known as “Fort Hulme”. All kinds of social and economic problems ensued, and it had gained a rising crime-based reputation. Hulme was top go through a second regeneration as the 30 year old concrete structures were removed in the early 1990s. This fine bridge in many ways typifies the corporation’s aspiration to remove the stigma that the area had come to represent, and to replace it with a new, inspirational, elegant and optimistic edifice on the main approach to Hulme.