‘Win­ter’ open­ing date for the chord pi­az­zas

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS -

A NEW pub­lic space be­neath the Ord­sall Chord could now open this year.

In the sum­mer, the M.E.N toured the de­vel­op­ment by Trin­ity Way, which has the new link be­tween Vic­to­ria and Pic­cadilly at its heart.

The £320m de­vel­op­ment also in­cludes the restored Stephen­son’s bridge, vis­i­ble for the first time in 150 years, as well as a new foot­bridge and a pub­lic space of walk­ways to the canal, pi­az­zas, benches and flowerbeds.

But at the time, in­sid­ers told the M.E.N the Sal­ford side of the project could be ‘boarded up for years’ – its open­ing held up by the con­struc­tion of the Fac­tory, an arts cen­tre on the site of the old Granada Stu­dios which will sit across the Ir­well on the Manch­ester side of the foot­bridge (see page 6).

Sal­ford City Mayor Paul Den­nett did not al­le­vi­ate fears when he said they were ‘still in dis­cus­sions with Manch­ester city coun­cil about the pub­lic realm on both sides of the river.

How­ever, two months on and Mr Den­nett has con­firmed they will open the site as soon as pos­si­ble. He said: “When the land is trans­ferred from Net­work Rail we will open up the pub­lic realm in Sal­ford.”

Al­though Net­work Rail have not con­firmed when ex­actly they will be fin­ish­ing the fi­nal ‘snag­ging’ works and hand­ing the land back, they have said it will be ‘this win­ter’, so the Sal­ford pi­az­zas should be open to vis­i­tors this year or early next year. Peter Jenk­ins, ar­chi­tect di­rec­tor at BDP, who de­signed the site with the en­gi­neer­ing teams of WSP, Ae­com & Mott Mac­Don­ald, said: “The pub­lic haven’t been able to prop­erly see Stephen­son’s Bridge for 150 years. It was hid­den away and fall­ing to pieces be­fore this project came along and res­cued it. This was the start of pas­sen­ger rail­ways in the en­tire world. It’s im­por­tant on two lev­els – the re­gen­er­a­tion across the north of Eng­land of the rail­way con­nect­ing cities in a bet­ter way. But also it was a great op­por­tu­nity to change this area, to make more of Stephen­son’s Bridge, put in the new foot­bridge, cre­ate spaces like this one. It’s about the com­mu­nity, the neigh­bour­hood – for the many peo­ple liv­ing here, work­ing here.”

Works on Stephen­son’s Bridge have in­cluded clean­ing, the re­moval of lime­stone sta­lac­tites and the re­place­ment of miss­ing stones. New light­ing will show­case the bridge.

The Ord­sall Chord fea­tures a 1,600-tonne sin­gle-span net­work arch bridge which is the sec­ond-long­est in the world to carry twin heavy-rail tracks. The new pub­lic space af­fords a unique view of the Ord­sall ‘swoosh’ from be­neath.

New pub­lic space by Ord­sall Chord

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