New Islington Bridge, Manchester

The bridge was conceived as part of a regeneration project near Murrays Mill at Ancoats which is one of the largest remaining mill buildings in Manchester and forms an impressive red brick backdrop to the site. 

The bridge concept was the result of a RIBA competition run by Urban Splash in 2008.  The brief was to connect three footpaths coming in from different directions and at differing levels.  The successful solution by Golifer Langston Architects and Michael Hadi Associates Consulting Engineers, achieved this by utlising a curved boomerang shape to connect the three access points.  To reflect Manchester's urban culture the words 'Cast No Shadow' were stencilled to the underside of the bridge; the title of an Oasis song written by Noel Gallagher for the album 'Whats the Story Morning Glory'.  The intention is that the words can be viewed as a reflection in the water underneath the bridge.

Unfortunately, the original bridge construction was never opened to the public.  To remedy the situation, CTS Bridges were approached to design, build and install a replacement structure.  Our brief was to ensure the new structure fitted within the architectural envelope of the Gollifer Langston Achitects and Michael Hadi Associates Consulting Engineers original design and re-use the existing steel cladding panels which incorporated a laser cut motif to represent woven fabric.

As well as fulfilling the aesthetic brief, buildability and safe installation were critical to the design strategy.

Attention to detail, during both design and fabrication was important to ensure a successful structure; the anticipated rotation of the torsion space truss was carefully analysed to enable factory preset of cantilevering deck elements and every cladding panel was match fitted in our factory onto the fully assembled structure to ensure the best possible fit with the constraints of the existing panels.

The large boomerang shape of the bridge meant it had to be transported to site in three sections and welded adjacent to the final bridge setting.  Adjacent access roads limited crane size to a 500t capacity crane.  The combination of a large, heavy structure and restricted lifting capability created a challenging installation.  As such, careful sequential activities were planned to ensure a safe, smooth installation.  A high level of prefabrication was needed both prior to delivery and the final lift to avoid temporary works and working over water.

A precision planned lift which utilised the structures centre of gravity, which fell outside the footprint of the deck, located all three landing points simultaneously with ease.  The entire night lift was complete in under two hours by CTS's own on-site team.  We are pleased that the new replacement bridge structure has been complimented by Manchester City Council and will be opened once adjacent footpath works are complete.


Published: Thursday, 6th November 2014 at 9:20am