A new £20 million entrance has opened at Leeds railway station in the UK. Mott MacDonald provided the detailed design for the entrance, which improves access to the developing South Bank area of the city.
Leeds is one of the busiest rail stations outside of London, with 100,000 travellers using it on a daily basis. It is estimated that the scheme will benefit approximately 20,000 users of the station daily, reducing commuting times by five minutes a journey which results in an overall saving of up to 50 minutes a week.
The scheme is largely constructed over-spanning the River Aire, with piled river pier foundations supporting a structural platform accessed via two bridges from the river’s banks, as well as accessible ramps located within the existing viaduct arches. The deck supports stairs, lifts and escalators which raise passengers by 12m to a newly extended upper concourse, straddling three electrified railway lines. Mott MacDonald reduced cost, time and maintenance needs in the delivery of the entrance by using building information modelling to optimise the complex architectural geometry and to communicate key details to the construction and maintenance teams via walkthroughs and animations. Costs were also minimised by using offsite construction techniques.
Ian Besford, Mott MacDonald’s project director, said: “This was a challenging project that required construction close to residential properties, around a heritage structure, over a live railway and in a river. Now open to the public, the new entrance will satisfy increasing demand for pedestrian access from the south of the station, support economic regeneration and also act as a new landmark for the area.”
The project was jointly promoted by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Network Rail, with funding also secured from Leeds City Council and the Department for Transport.