‘Winter’ opening date for the chord piazzas
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