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Ordsall Chord close to completion as steel bands installed

The Ordsall Chord is now moving into the final stages of construction as two steel bands have been moved into place on the structure.

On 14 August, the final cascade weighing 40 tonnes was installed by Network Rail engineers, marking the completion of the UK’s first network arch bridge.

It marks a major milestone in the project, which was started back in 2015 after numerous delays, that will connect Manchester’s three main stations together for the first time by building a bridge across the Irwell River. 

Work will now continue on the remainder of the project, including laying ballast and track on the 1,600 tonne bridge, on top of further track work, signal work, and the installation of overhead line equipment to allow electric trains to run on the line.

“The installation of the cascades completes the final and unique steel ribbon-effect which runs along the outside of the network arch bridge,” said Allan Parker, programme manager for Network Rail. 

“We’ve reached yet another major milestone in the project and I would like to thank all the teams who have played an integral role in making this happen. We are a step closer to providing the infrastructure for more frequent trains and better connections, not only within the city, but the north of England.”

And BDP Transport architect director, Peter Jenkins, said that the flowing cascade design of the viaduct bridge was that of a “continual flowing ribbon” which incorporated individual structures into a single over-arching identity.

“This latest piece of steelwork connects the River Irwell and Trinity Way bridges with a twisting, sinuous form which smoothly brings the concept of the structure to fruition,” he explained.

“The development has been a true team effort from the original sketch through to construction, integrating different people and different tools to achieve the vision.”

Jenkins added that the process began with pen and paper concepts which were explored through structural analysis and developed into complex three-dimensional modelling. The bridge’s arches and cascades were then fabricated by Severfield in Bolton using the latest steelwork techniques before being delivered to site.

The Ordsall Chord, which is a part of Network Rail’s £1bn Great North Rail Project and a vital section of the national Railway Upgrade Plan, is due to be completed in December 2017.

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James Palma   15/08/2017 at 19:47

How much does it cost to roll beams to that design? Could money have been saved using conventional designs?

John Webster   15/08/2017 at 20:18

The Ordsall Chord could become a "white elephant" now that the extra tracks from Deansgate to Piccadilly have been shelved. Plenty of money for London - not much for the North - even the Trans Pennine electrification is also shelved.

Jerry Alderson   16/08/2017 at 20:49

This Network Rail scheme seems to be on schedule and, as far as know, on budget. I wonder if the research needed when responding to the legal objections resulted in Network Rail doing more design and planning work up front before it put shovels into the ground than it normally does?

Andrew Gwilt   17/08/2017 at 02:57

Once its completed. It will link up with the lines that goes to Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria and will act as a new link that will allow trains to use the chord between the 2 stations in Manchester. As it was once the missing link before.

Patrick Jon   17/08/2017 at 14:51

@ John Webster - Have they been scrapped? I thought they were just deferred due to the lengthy appeal against the Ordsall Chord?

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