Network Rail this week embarked upon its final consultation phase for a critical new viaduct connecting the key Manchester city centre stations.
Known as the Ordsall Chord, the around £85M viaduct will help to ease a major bottleneck to the south of Manchester’s Piccadilly station and increase the number of trains passing through Victoria station.
The proposals are part of the £600M Northern Hub scheme that will enhance connections in the North West of England and across the Pennines to Leeds and Sheffield.
The project will enable the introduction of two new fast trains per hour between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool and between Leeds and Manchester.
The Ordsall Chord, which would be around 500m long, has faced public scrutiny in large part because of its proximity to local residents and the Museum of Science and Industry, which occupies the former Liverpool Road station.
But following a public consultation in November, Network Rail is now submitting proposals for a Bowstring Arch bridge that aims to mitigate some of the impact on locals.
It aims to create an architectural feature of the new curved section of line and will open up sight lines to a George Stephenson Bridge that is otherwise largely obscured from view.
The new bridge is designed by consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff and architects from BDP. Network Rail is hopeful that the consultation will enable submission of a planning application in the summer with construction set to start by the end of next year and completion set for the end of 2016.
Full feature on the Ordsall Chord and the Northern Hub will follow in an upcoming issue of NCE.