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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Manchester city centre rail bridge to be repaired

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Network Rail is to strengthen a vital rail bridge across one of the busiest approach roads to Manchester city centre.

The bridge carries the ‘through’ rail lines between Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations over the busy London Road.

Built in 1849, the single span cast iron bridge was encased in concrete just over 50 years ago as a way of extending its working life. However, time has taken its toll and now it needs more attention to prolong it further.

Ray Chan, Network Rail’s scheme project manager explained what the problem is:

“The bridge was built using a number of cast iron ribs, which were encased in concrete approximately 100 years later.

“However, water has got into the concrete exposing some of the ribs and there is evidence of water staining and general deterioration.

“We are taking the opportunity to carry out repairs now before it becomes a major issue for both trains and road vehicles.”

To carry out the repairs, contractors will need to be positioned in the road so the city council has agreed to close two of the four lanes as necessary. A traffic management system will be used to minimise disruption.

Work to repair the structure will involve removing the existing concrete where necessary, then applying fresh concrete onto the bridge.

Smaller defects will be patch-repaired as will brickwork in the supporting walls.

At the same time, the safety handrail across the parapets of the bridge will be rubbed down, treated and repainted.

Pedestrian access will be maintained at all times and work is due to be completed by the end of March.

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