Crescent Bridge Salford
PEDESTRIAN FOOTBRIDGE / Manchester, U.K.
Client: RIBA Open Competition Entry for Salford Council
Team: Buro Happold
The Crescent Bridge is a striking emblem of Salford’s revitalisation; spanning the River Irwell in a landmark structure supported by two gracious crescent-shaped masts that lean towards one another forming an arched gateway welcoming visitors to the Meadows.
The highly contemporary footbridge is a three-span cable stayed structure threading through the trees that is clearly visible from Oldfield Road, all along the Crescent and Chapel Street yet set back to allow for ease of use and pedestrian safety. Each approach offers a different vista; ever changing in appearance this dynamic form is a thoroughly fitting centrepiece for the Middlewood Loop and serves as a marker for the newly accessible Meadows and the future redevelopment to the North of the site. From the centre of the bridge, visitors enjoy a dramatic view of the tree tops and river unhindered by cables or structure.
The bridge incorporates an inclined deck that accommodates the 5.5m change in level via a continuous 1:20 ramp that is fully accessible to the disabled. This also minimises the need for extensive earthworks on either of the embankments. The masts distribute load into the river banks vertically without adversely loading the existing substructure or foundations of the Crescent road bridge.
A stairway leads down to a riverside viewing platform from the Crescent replacing the existing Adelphi Footbridge, with a view to eventually serving as the start of the river walk. It also offers access to the riverside pub via a link bridge. The structure has the capacity for a disabled lift or ramps to be incorporated so that the future river walk can be accessible to the disabled.
Advanced modular construction techniques mean the structure can be largely prefabricated and assembled on site, allowing rapid construction and minimising disruption to the surrounding area. The result is a confident emblem of Salford’s revitalisation, providing a vital link to leisure space and new areas of development, and articulating the city’s vision for future growth.
The bridge is a 3-span cable stayed painted steel structure, comprising a deck supported from two leaning masts. The two masts are sculpted elements fabricated as hollow elements from stiffened steel plates partially filled with concrete, with the Southern mast slightly higher. Crescent shaped in elevation, they are supported at the lower ends on plinths at the rivers edge, leaning toward each other – but not touching.
In cross section they bifurcate, allowing the deck to pass through the centre, forming a gateway over the River Irwell for pedestrians. No back stays are provided; out-of-balance forces from the deck are resisted by the weight of the masts and their strength in bending. The deck has been designed to be Equality Act (DDA) compliant – formed using a fabricated steel box, triangular in cross section. The outer spans are supported by the stays; the central span between the two masts by underslung cables. The spans are connected by pin joints at the mast-deck junctions. On the Southern end, the deck bifurcates in plan providing a stair linkage to the riverside pub and future connections.