Hulme Arch Bridge

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Hulme Arch Bridge
Close view of Hulme Arch.jpg
Hulme Arch Bridge
Coordinates 53°28′5″N2°14′45″W / 53.46806°N 2.24583°W / 53.46806; -2.24583 Coordinates: 53°28′5″N2°14′45″W / 53.46806°N 2.24583°W / 53.46806; -2.24583
Carriesvehicular traffic
CrossesPrincess Road
Locale Hulme, Manchester, England
OwnerManchester City Council
Design arch bridge with a suspended deck
Material365 tonnes (359 long tons; 402 short tons) steel [1]
Total length52 metres (171 ft) [1]
Width18 metres (59 ft) [1]
Height25 metres (82 ft) (arch rise) [1]
No. of spans1
ArchitectKeith Brownlie [1]
Engineering design byOve Arup & Partners [1]
Constructed byHenry Boot Construction [1]
Construction startMay 1996
Construction endApril 1997
Opened10 May 1997
Greater Manchester UK location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Hulme Arch Bridge
Location in Greater Manchester

The Hulme Arch Bridge in Hulme, Manchester, England, supports Stretford Road as it passes over Princess Road, and is located at grid reference SJ838968 . The construction of the bridge formed part of the regeneration of the Hulme district of Manchester, both by re-establishing the former route of Stretford Road, which had been cut into two halves by the construction of Princess Road in 1969, and by providing a local landmark. The location was previously occupied by a footbridge.

Hulme area of Manchester

Hulme is an inner city area and electoral ward of Manchester, England, immediately south of Manchester city centre. It has a significant industrial heritage.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a major city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, also referred to as Capital of the North West with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous urban area, with a population of 2.7 million, and third-most populous metropolitan area, with a population of 3.3 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority for the city is Manchester City Council.

A5103 road road in England

The A5103 is a major road in England. It runs from Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester city centre to junction 3 of the M56 motorway and is one of Manchester's principal radial routes.


The bridge consists of a deck supported by cables from a single arch that spans the bridge diagonally. The design was selected in June 1995, with construction running between May 1996 and April 1997. It was opened on 10 May 1997 by Alex Ferguson.

Alex Ferguson Scottish association football manager and former footballer

Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson is a Scottish former football manager and player who managed Manchester United from 1986 to 2013. He is considered one of the greatest managers of all time and he has won more trophies than any other manager in the history of football.


Stretford Road was divided into two halves in 1969 by the construction of Princess Road. [2] A footbridge was subsequently constructed, crossing Princess Road at the same place as the road previously ran. [3] As part of the regeneration of the Hulme district, it was decided to construct a new bridge to rejoin the two sections of the road, and also to provide a local landmark. [2]

The design of the bridge was selected via a two-staged, closed design competition, commissioned by Hulme Regeneration Ltd and Manchester City Council. [4] [5] The first stage of the competition was held in March 1995, and had six entries. The winning design was selected in June 1995, and was from architects Chris Wilkinson Architects, with the structural engineer being Ove Arup & Partners. [2] [4] The reference for the design of the bridge was Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. [2]

An architectural design competition is a type of design competition in which an organization that intends on constructing a new building invites architects to submit design proposals. The winning design is usually chosen by an independent panel of design professionals and stakeholders. This procedure is often used to generate new ideas for building design, to stimulate public debate, generate publicity for the project, and allow emerging designers the opportunity to gain exposure. Architecture competitions are often used to award commissions for public buildings: in some countries rules for tendering public building contracts stipulate some form of mandatory open architectural competition.

Manchester City Council Local government body in England

Manchester City Council is the local government authority for Manchester, a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. It is composed of 96 councillors, three for each of the 32 electoral wards of Manchester. The council is controlled by the Labour Party and led by Sir Richard Leese. The opposition is formed by the Liberal Democrats and led by former Manchester Withington MP John Leech. Joanne Roney is the chief executive. Many of the council's staff are based at Manchester Town Hall.

Chris Wilkinson is a British architect and founder of WilkinsonEyre. In 1983, he set up Chris Wilkinson Architects, after forming a partnership with Jim Eyre in 1987 the practice was re-branded and established as WilkinsonEyre in 1999.


The bridge from the side of Stretford Road Hulme Arch Bridge 2.jpg
The bridge from the side of Stretford Road

The bridge consists of a 50 metres (160 ft) bridge deck of three 17 by 17 m (56 by 56 ft) steel and concrete decking segments covered with tarmac. [4] The deck is supported by twenty-two 51 mm diameter [5] spiral steel cables originating from both sides of a 25 metres (82 ft) high arch. The parabolic arch is made of six prefabricated trapezoid steel box sections, and spans the bridge diagonally. [4] The bridge is illuminated at night. [5] [2] The arch varies between 1.6 metres (5.2 ft) wide by 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) deep at the bases to 3 metres (9.8 ft) wide and 0.7 metres (2.3 ft) deep at the top. [6] It is supported by a pair of 8.5 by 6.5 by 5.5 m (27.9 by 21.3 by 18 ft) concrete blocks, which bear most of the weight of the bridge. The deck is supported by piled abutments, which incorporate areas for bearing and expansion joint inspection and maintenance. The arch is kept in shape by a number of internal stiffeners and diaphragms, with the top section filled with concrete. To minimise internal rust, the lower sections of the arch were coated with a vapour corrosion inhibitor, with portholes with removable covers inserted into the arch so that the inside can have additional coats applied in the future. [2]

Steel alloy made by combining iron and other elements

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, and sometimes other elements. Because of its high tensile strength and low cost, it is a major component used in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons.

Concrete Composite construction material

Concrete, usually Portland cement concrete, is a composite material composed of fine and coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement that hardens over time—most frequently in the past a lime-based cement binder, such as lime putty, but sometimes with other hydraulic cements, such as a calcium aluminate cement or Portland cement. It is distinguished from other, non-cementitious types of concrete all binding some form of aggregate together, including asphalt concrete with a bitumen binder, which is frequently used for road surfaces, and polymer concretes that use polymers as a binder.

Tarmacadam is a road surfacing material made by combining macadam surfaces, tar, and sand, patented by Welsh inventor Edgar Purnell Hooley in 1902. The terms "tarmacadam" and tarmac are also used for a variety of other materials, including tar-grouted macadam, bituminous surface treatments, and modern asphalt concrete. The term is also often used to describe airport aprons, taxiways, and runways regardless of the surface.


The three sections of decking were assembled on the broad central reservation of Princess Road, and were craned into position over a weekend when Princess Road was closed. [4] The decking was temporarily supported by trestles until the arch was ready. [2] The six sections of the arch were welded together on site into two halves before being lifted into position during a second weekend. [4] The cables were connected on third weekend. [2] The bridge was formally opened on 10 May 1997 by Alex Ferguson [2] in a ceremony including the Lord Mayor of Manchester and Tony Wilson. The ceremony was concluded by them being driven over the bridge in a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, and was followed by a street festival. [7]

Tony Wilson British record producer

Anthony Howard Wilson was a British record label owner, radio and television presenter, nightclub manager, impresario and journalist for Granada Television and the BBC.

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Early twentieth century car model produced by Rolls-Royce Ltd. NOT to be confused for the luxury sedan introduced by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in 2009.

The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost name refers both to a car model and one specific car from that series.

The bridge has been described by the structural engineers as "a perfect example of how imaginative design combined with leading-edge engineering technology can be used to create a landmark structure which captures the public's imagination." [2] In 1997 the bridge was shortlisted for the British Construction Civil Engineering Award. In 1998, the bridge received four awards: the RIBA Award for Architecture, a Structural Steel Design Awards Commendation, a Civic Trust Award Commendation and the Institute of Civil Engineers Merit Award. [5]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Hulme Arch at Structurae
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Hussain, N.; I. Wilson (February 1999). "The Hulme Arch Bridge, Manchester". ICE Proceedings, Civil Engineering. 132 (1): 2–13. doi:10.1680/icien.1999.31234.[ permanent dead link ]
  3. "Hulme Arch Bridge project". Arup. Archived from the original on 23 March 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Hulme Arch Bridge". Arup. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Examples of modern bridge design". Corus. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
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  7. "Eyewitness in Manchester, 11 May 1997". Archived from the original on 26 August 2007. Retrieved 30 March 2008.

See also