Up and down the country, waterfront areas (whether river- or canal-side, old docks, or in coastal locations) have been the subject of intensive redevelopment in recent years. This redevelopment has created opportunities for much striking new design, and as water is an integral part of such settings, footbridges often feature on these sites. No waterside redevelopment is more comprehensive and impressive than the old Salford docks at the inland end of the Manchester Ship Canal.
The principal footbridge in the area is the Lowry footbridge over the Manchester Ship Canal itself, which links the two principal public buildings on the site - the Lowry and the Imperial War Museum North. The contract for the design of the bridge was won by W Middleton of the Salford engineering firm Parkmans with Spanish architect Casado following an international competition. The main engineering contractors were Christiani and Neilsen. The bridge was completed in the year 2000, so although not funded by the Millennium Commission may yet be thought off as a truly Millennium Bridge. The bridge is of lifting design to enable ships to pass underneath.
A smaller footbridge, of recent but unknown date, is that crossing the southern end of Mariner's Canal which links the Erie Basin and Ontario Basin. It appears that the name "Mariner" commemorates not local seafaring tradition, but local boy Rifleman William Mariner of the King's Royal Rifles who was awarded the VC for action in France in 1915. (The fact that he was a convict who had served terms of imprisonment both for burglary and for military offences tends to get overlooked!).
A third notable bridge is the Detroit Bridge which separates the Huron and Erie Basin. Originally a railway swing bridge which spanned the Manchester Ship Canal to the west of the Trafford Road swing bridge, it was moved to its present location in the 1988, adjoining the extraordinary NV buildings (residential blocks of flats). For a distant photo of the bridge in its original position see Eyewitness in Manchester.
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