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Investigations underway on Manchester lift bridge collapse

Barton bridge

Contractors building a new lifting bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal have confirmed a ful investigation is now underway into a deck collapse earlier this week.

The incident occurred on the £32M Western Gateway Infrastructure Scheme, where work is being carried out by a joint venture of Hochtief and Buckingham Group.

The scheme will provide links to Port Salford, a freight terminal currently under construction on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in Barton-upon-Irwell in the City of Salford, Greater Manchester.

As part of the scheme a new link road will be constructed in connection with the Port. The existing A57 road is being redirected closer to the Salford City Stadium via a 1.6km long new dual carriageway link to Trafford Way and a new £1.1M lift bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal to the east of the existing M60 bridge.

The project is nearing completion, with work on the scheme beginning in 2012 and on the bridge itself in May 2015. The incident happened on Monday morning during a planned test of the new bridge. Photos and video footage from the scene show that two of the four lifting connections have failed, dropping the bridge onto its abutments.

Barton bridge

Bridge collapse

Source: @simon19648 via Twitter

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said no-one was hurt or trapped and the matter was in the hands of the police.


Source: Phil Hogan

Video footage shows the deck failure

Howard Civil Engineering is carrying out civils works for the bridge with Cass Hayward as designer. It has extensive experience of moveable bridges and has been involved in the design of vertical lifting bridges, swing bridges, bascule bridges, dutch drawbridges, retractable bridges and roll on roll off link spans. It declined to comment.

All enquiries are being directed to the main construction joint venture.

A spokesperson told New Civil Engineer: “An incident occurred during a planned operation on a new lifting bridge over the Manchester Shipping Canal at 9.30am on 16 May 2016. No one was injured. An exclusion zone was in place around the bridge, as is standard during this type of work.

“The Health and Safety Executive and emergency services have attended the site. A full investigation will now take place and while this investigation is underway we cannot comment further.”

Source: NorthPorts

Video showing collapsed bridge deck on new lift bridge crossing Manchester Ship Canal at Barton, next to the M60 high level bridge.

BWB is providing civil, structural and environmental engineering and infrastructure design services for the overall project, but has had no involvement on the bridge.

Greater Manchester Police said it was called to the scene but that it was taking no further involvement. “No one was injured and there was no criminal activity involved so we were only kept informed rather than being involved,” said a spokesman.

Client for the project is Peel Ports Group.

It said it was working to minimise the impact on canal users.

“We can confirm that an incident involving construction works for the lifting bridge near the M60 over the Manchester Ship Canal has obstructed marine traffic on the canal east and west to and from Manchester,” said a spokesman.

“We understand that no-one was injured during the incident.

“For the time being there will be no marine traffic movements on the canal in the immediate vicinity of the incident until further notice.

”We have a marine response team on the ground and are working with the emergency services and all parties involved in the project to assess and minimise the impact on users of the canal. We will be updating our customers and users of the canal throughout the day and going forward. We hope to resume normal access for marine traffic along the relevant area of the canal as soon as practically possible.”

Lift bridge collapse

Source: NorthPorts

More images of the failure can be viewed on Flickr

The project according to Hochtief

Hochtief and Buckingham Group are undertaking this complex project to increase the capacity of the existing roundabout junctions on the M60 at Junction 10 and 11 as well as re configuring the whole layout at Bridgewater Circle Roundabout directly outside the Trafford Shopping Centre.

The scheme is the first stage of a major development in the area to improve transportation links East to West over the shipping canal in readiness for the future development of the Port of Salford. The new highway will divert traffic away from residential areas, off the A57 to the West near Eccles in the Borough of Salford and continue through a brownfield site.

Along the new 2.6km dual carriageway route there are several bridge structures to be constructed along with a bespoke lifting bridge over the Manchester Shipping Canal.

Through value engineering and working collaboratively with suppliers and the designer, we removed the requirement for a costly reinforced underpass where a future railway link to the Port of Salford will cross.

With the works crossing various canals and watercourses and taking into consideration working close to urbanised areas, environmental mitigation measures have been instrumental to the successful delivery of the scheme. Particular emphasis has been placed on our customer care strategy for engaging with stakeholders, residents and the local community.


  •  This story has been updated to clarify the roles of those involved in the project, and specifically to clarify that BWB is designer for the overall highway scheme but has had no involvement in the bridge design


Readers' comments (1)

  • "BWB is designer for the overall highway scheme but has had no involvement in the bridge design".

    Who is the Principal Designer?

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