Manchester city centre rail bridge work starts early to avoid Christmas rush

Work to refurbish an essential rail bridge in Manchester city centre has been brought forward to avoid any inconvenience to road users in the run up to Christmas.

The concrete bridge on Fairfield Street carries part of the main rail line to Piccadilly station, which is vital for the hundreds of trains using it each day and passengers who rely on rail. However, the work needs a half road closure with vehicles passing under the bridge controlled by temporary traffic lights. The council was not prepared to grant permission as the work was not scheduled to finish until Christmas Eve.

Jo Kaye, Network Rail route director, said: “The work is vital to the continued operation of the railway, but we do have to have consideration for others. Happily, we were able to reschedule to work so that it will be completed by the end of October, well before it would have impacted on Christmas traffic.”

The traffic lights will be manually controlled during the morning and evening peak periods to minimise disruption, and a pedestrian walkway will be maintained at all times.

The work involves removing areas of defective concrete from the curved ribs underneath the bridge before the steel reinforcing inside is either cleaned up or replaced completely. The steel will then be treated with a protective coating and the concrete replaced.

Finally, the bridge will be painted which will enhance its overall appearance and also protect it so that it will be at least 25 years before any major work is needed again.

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