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Steel bridge checks in at Manchester Airport

July 29, 2020 by NSC in Weekly News
Requiring more than 380t of weathering steel, a new landmark pedestrian and cycle bridge has been installed over the M56 motorway spur road at Airport City Manchester.

Working on behalf of main contractor BCEGi, Cleveland bridge fabricated, supplied and installed the new bridge, which measures 52.5m-long × 6m-wide.

The half-through bridge, comprising two main plate girders with cross girders at regular intervals, was rolled into position overnight using two, 800t, 20 axle self-propelled modular transporters.

Each main plate girder is made up of three sections varying in length, up to a maximum of 30m-long, and the webs feature more than 21,000 perforations along the bridge’s length.

The entire superstructure and one of the six supporting piers have been constructed with weathering steel, which develops a rust-like aesthetic after several years’ exposure to weather and eliminates the need for painting.

5plus Architects Director John Barrett said: “We specified weathering steel for the honesty, robustness and innate beauty of the material, as it will bring a subtle richness in the context of the overall masterplan as buildings develop around it.

“The detailing was undertaken to further express its construction and engineering, reflecting on the industrial heritage of Manchester, with a confident design twist by perforating the web of the steel plate girder to create a delicacy and engineered lightness playing on the perception of the inherent strength of the material.”

The £6M bridge has been part-funded by Manchester City Council, whose 50% contribution to the project helped deliver a sustainable connection from the Airport City Manchester site directly to rail, bus and tram links, as well as providing direct access for pedestrians and cyclists travelling to and from Wythenshawe and surrounding areas.

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