Latest Rail News

27.02.09

City centre bridge to be strengthened

Network Rail is to invest £350,000 strengthening a vital rail bridge across one of the busiest roads in Manchester city centre. ‘Bridge 48A’ is part of a 110-span structure known as the Manchester South Junction & Altrincham Viaduct, and crosses Oxford Road between the Palace Hotel and the BBC studios.

The viaduct is made up of a number of masonry arch spans interspersed with cast iron arches and concrete spans. The span over Oxford Road is a cast iron rib-girder structure which was encased in reinforced concrete 50 years ago and forms part of the listed Oxford Road station. Time and exposure to weather have caused some of the concrete to flake off.

Consequently, those parts over the pavements and the nearside lanes of the five-lane road are currently covered in netting to prevent any concrete falling into the road below. Work to repair the structure will involve removing the existing concrete then either spraying fresh concrete onto the bridge or applying it by hand. At the same time, the handrail across the parapets of the bridge will be rubbed down, treated and repainted to a standard that will not require further work for 25 years.

To carry out the repairs, contractors will need to be positioned in the road so Network Rail has been in talks with the city council to agree partial road closures over six consecutive weekends starting on Saturday 28 March. Pedestrian access will be maintained on both sides of the road at all times, through special scaffold tunnels designed to protect them from the worksite. The work will be carried out by Birse on behalf of Network Rail.

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