After a year dedicated to building the four giant towers that will eventually support the widest lifting bridge in the country, it was trainee engineer Tom Anscombe from Salford who had the honour of making the final pour of 2,200 sqm of concrete into the fourth towering structure.
The imposing 35-metre high towers, positioned next to Barton Bridge on the M60, will eventually support the deck of a lifting bridge, similar to Salford’s Centenary Bridge, which, when operational, will rise to make way for vessels as high as 20 metres passing underneath it on the region’s historic Manchester Ship Canal.
Tom, who is employed by Hochtief Buckingham (Joint Venture) as a trainee engineer said: “The scale of the tower build has been phenomenal - as they have gradually climbed higher they’ve become quite a talking point. Despite the fact the towers are hollow, we poured vast amounts of concrete from the hopper suspended from the crane to form the tower structures, which each contain 80 tonnes of reinforcing steel to support the 500 tonne structure. The towers are anchored by 108 piles that have been drilled 30 metres deep into the ground. It’s great to be able to play a part in making this important local project happen. ”
The completion of the towers is a significant landmark in the progress of the £50 million A57 improvement works that will connect the A57 from the AJ Bell Stadium junction at Peel Green then across the Manchester Ship Canal to link to Trafford Boulevard and the M60 via Trafford City.
As part of this major highway project, undertaken by Peel Land and Property, roundabouts at junction 10 and 11 of the M60 have been made larger as well as the Bridgewater roundabout at the entrance to intu Trafford Centre.
James Whittaker, Development Director at Peel Land and Property Group, which has made a £31 million contribution to the improvement scheme, said: “Independent highway studies show that this stretch of motorway is one of the busiest in the country and we’re committed to providing an additional route into Trafford City for those travelling from the A57. Already the extension of the roundabouts at junction 10 and 11 as well as the Bridgewater roundabout is helping with traffic flow and the completion of the towers means we are aiming for the bridge’s construction to be complete this summer.”
City Mayor Ian Stewart said: “This new road is a route to jobs and investment. It’s a key part of our plans to unlock major development opportunities on land around the AJ Bell Stadium by providing easier access to that land and better traffic flows. I’m delighted to see the progress of the bridge, which will also be a major local landmark, and look forward to seeing it in action.”