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23 February 2017

UK’s first network arch bridge installed on the Ordsall Chord, UK

The UK’s first network arch bridge has been installed on Network Rail’s Ordsall Chord project in north west England. Two cranes worked in tandem to lift the 600 tonne steelwork arches into position across the River Irwell between the cities of Manchester and Salford. The bridge is the result of a detailed collaborative effort by the AECOM Mott MacDonald joint venture (JV), project architect BDP, contractor Skanska BAM JV and steelwork subcontractor Severfield.

The new crossing, a highly unusual asymmetric network arch bridge, is the first of its type to be built in the UK. It forms a key part of the Ordsall Chord rail link that connects all of Manchester’s city centre railway stations for the first time, easing rail traffic congestion, reducing journey times and enhancing rail capacity across the north of England. The efficiency of the network arch structure meets the architect’s aspirations for an elegant landmark bridge, as well as all necessary performance requirements to carry the Ordsall Chord’s new twin track railway.

Brian Duguid, AECOM Mott MacDonald JV engineering manager, commented: “We have been involved on Ordsall Chord and other schemes in Network Rail’s Great North Rail Project from the early stages. On the Ordsall Chord, we have undertaken structural, highways, drainage and other railway engineering roles.”

“The River Irwell Crossing is the most prominent of a range of highly complex works, including large girder bridges, concrete arch widening of brick viaducts, extensive heritage refurbishment, bridge strengthening and a significant number of often bespoke ancillary structures. Our pioneering digital design work has been applied across the project, which was recognised by winning the Trimble Tekla Global Award for Infrastructure BIM in 2016,” Brian added.

The Ordsall Chord is due to be completed in December 2017.

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