Report - - Barton Lift Bridge, Salford/Trafford - February 2016 | High Stuff | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Barton Lift Bridge, Salford/Trafford - February 2016


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Thought I should probably have a crack at giving this a quick write up, as it’s probably worth a mention, and the bridge is due to open any week now. From the outset this was always going to be a solo explore, as finding people to get out with at the time was proving difficult, and I had easy, free weekly transport to the area in the form of mates who play football at the nearby soccerdome. For a couple of months on and off I went along, and sneaked out of the back of the complex to watch how things were progressing with the bridge, and keep checking access to the site.


35mm film

This area around Trafford has been ripe for all kinds of explores over the past two years, but much of the infrastructure is now complete. This particular project to expand the A57 is known as the Western Gateway Infrastructure Scheme, including a new lift bridge crossing over the Manchester Ship Canal. This provides access to the new Port Salford freight terminal, runs alongside the AJ Bell stadium, and gives relief to the existing roads. The lift bridge is mainly funded by the infamous Peel Group, who basically own the ship canal, and much of the land around it from Liverpool Docks to Salford Quays. The £1.1 million bridge comprises four 31 metre high reinforced concrete towers, and a platform which can be lifted to allow vessels up to 20 metres high to pass underneath.



As soon as I knew the towers were complete, and saw the hoist equipment installed, I guessed there would be ladders inside to climb. I crossed the site quickly, with precious little over an hour before I had to be back to meet the lads, this had to go smoothly. To my relief it did, and I was soon up the ladders, staring at the enormous drum full of wrapped up cable. At the top of the ladder shaft I was perched on a wooden platform. There wasn’t enough room to use a tripod, not even a gorillapod. The only option was to wedge myself and camera in the gap next to the drum and hope for the best, pleased I shoved the fisheye in my bag for it. I remember it being bloody cold up there, and feeling very exposed to the eyes of motorists on Barton Bridge, even knowing nobody could see me.





Work started on the site in May 2015, and was expected to be completed by Autumn 2016. However, on Monday 16th May, the steel platform and it’s load at the time, weighing anywhere between 100-500 tonnes, fell 60 feet during a planned test. Fortunately it happened at 9.35am, and nobody was injured. At least two of the concrete towers were badly damaged, and the hoist machinery inside ripped apart, while the Ship Canal was closed indefinitely. Information on the accident is sketchy, it’s reported there was an investigation, but nobody has seen the results of it yet. A worker’s dash cam caught footage of the platform going down, well worth a watch! http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/m60-bridge-collapse-video-barton-11355496



I went back with userscott and agour a few weeks after the collapse, to take a closer look at the damage. Here’s a pic of me kneeling next to the drive transmission, and underneath the 100 ton counterweight (bit daft putting that equipment underneath it)!



A new bridge deck was constructed and all work is now seemingly complete, the new relief road should be open any week now, once Peel and the council have stopped arguing over who will operate the damn thing. Please note: I’ve named this report “Barton Lift Bridge”, but the bridge has supposedly not yet been given a set name. I’ve seen it called both the Salford lift bridge (there’s already one of those), and the Trafford vertical lift bridge, which seems more appropriate but still isn’t technically right. Since the bridge is next to the existing Barton motorway bridge, this seems to cause the least confusion.



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