Lift bridge deck collapse at Western Gateway

Aftermath of the bridge collapse. Photo: @simon19648 on Twitter.

Cables supporting the steel deck structure of a new lift bridge being constructed over the Manchester Ship Canal are understood to have failed, causing the collapse of the deck on Peel Holdings' Western Gateway Infrastructure Scheme (WGIS) this morning. According to the Manchester Evening News, emergency services were called to the scene after the collapse, which is believed to have not resulted in any injuries.

The structure is being built by main contractor Hochtief as part of Peel Holdings' £32m WGIS project, which is building a new 2.6km road and improving capacity at Junctions 10 and 11 of the M60 and providing a new connection to the A57 to provide road infrastructure for Peel Holdings' Port of Salford development. The contractor's designers are Cass Hayward.

Hochtief has constructed four reinforced concrete pillars from which the steel deck was suspended via steel cables. According to early reports the deck was elevated in a lift position when one or more of the columns' arrays of cables failed at around 8.30 this morning. No-one was working on or near the structure at the time. Pictures seemed to show that one side of the deck had struck one column before falling onto its abutment supports above the canal, leaving a large hole in the column structure and the deck listing down towards the canal on one side.

Hochtief and Peel Holdings were unable to provide any comment. A Highways England spokesperson confirmed that the project is not part of the HE's network or programme of works.


One of the questions is why use cables to lift - pulling? Why not use hydraulic rams to push? Which of the two would be more capable of controlled descent in the event of failure? The risk is to shipping, not road traffic.