Trafford Road Swing Bridge

Refurbishment of Grade II listed structure
Salford City Council
NEC3 Option D


Designed by John Butler & Co, the Trafford Swing Road Bridge was built in 1892 spanning the Manchester Ship Canal and would swing open allowing ocean going cargo ships to travel inland from Liverpool to the Manchester Docks and Pomona Docks.

It is the largest and heaviest of the ship canal’s swing bridges, weighing 1800 tonnes.

In July 1987 the bridge was listed as a Grade II structure (Historic England List Entry Number: 1386184).

In 1998 the Trafford Road Swing Bridge was refurbished and fixed in place as part of a scheme to widen the road to a dual carriageway, with a new bridge built alongside.

The bridge carries the busy A5063 Trafford Road which links the M602 and A56 and is located on the canal up from the Lowry and Media City UK Studios in Salford.

EWCE were appointed by Urban Vision on behalf of Salford City Council to undertake the repainting of the bridge and small maintenance works including drainage, brickwork, vegetation clearance, fencing and trash screen installation.

Key Challenges

The painting scheme involved ST3 mechanical preparation and grit blasting in localised areas on the bridge.

Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) were used on the highway to access these areas and a scaffold design erected with shrink wrap encapsulation to both elevations and soffit to contain debris and paint materials entering the local environment and watercourse below.

The scaffold design over the canal was phased to allow larger taller vessels adequate headroom to pass underneath and included the construction of a temporary tunnel on the towpath so local cyclists and dog walkers could continue to use the route.

The footpath was closed to pedestrians with a diversionary route implemented but opened up during Manchester United home fixtures to minimise disruption.

EWCE employed confined space trained painters were also required to paint inside the ‘pintle’, the mechanism used to swing the bridge.

Added Value

The bridge was brought to site in 3 individual sections so that on site fabrication was minimised to avoid undue disruption to the local road network.

The site was audited by the Considerate Constructors scheme and it achieved a high ‘Performance beyond Compliance’ score.

We also provided work and employed two members of the local community for the duration of the project as part of a joint venture with the local Salford Job Centre.

The Project Manager was praised for his proactive approach as regards liaising with local stakeholders and in particular users of the canal (which resulted in the redesign of the scaffolding), road users and pedestrians attending football matches at Manchester United’s stadium.

Client Feedback

“The scheme was seen as a great success and was mainly due to the client / contractor relationship.”
Mike Jolley
Project Engineer, Urban Vision

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