The bridge spans the River Irwell, elegantly bending 128 degrees, counteracting the natural bend of the river below. Suspended off a structural arch, the bridge takes two elements – nature and architecture – and forms its master plan; its slender lines constitute the ‘stem’ and the branching out of the footbridge forms two green ‘leaves’.
This gentle movement provides a dynamic look to the structure and allows the users to enjoy the surrounding views – the park on the north-west side and the cityscape on the east. The particular geometry of the bridge offers a clear reading of its trajectory and keeps a clear line of site. The footway is DDA compliant with a 5% gradient slope.
The project fluidly articulates the bridge and infill landforms; the land is altered to create a landform sculpture, which forms a natural auditorium and a public space.
The primary structure of the Salford Meadows Bridge is a tied arch with an integrated deck acting as the tie, reducing the need for heavy foundations.
The enhanced width of the bridge at mid-span is structurally beneficial with regards to resisting the forces generated by the inclination of the arch.
The deck is positioned to counteract the overturning of the inclined arch. The shape of the arch is structurally optimised to reduce bending stresses, which in turn leads to a more economical and slender element.
The design of the bridge was generated in an integrated 3D environment and it was designed to be implemented by BIM.
This is in keeping with our forward-thinking approach towards BIM and the commitment from the University of Salford to deliver the first BIM and Integrated design Msc anywhere in the UK. We would hope that the Salford Bridge project forms part of that ongoing academic development and potential usage as an exemplar project.
The arches represent an elegant and outstanding landmark for the regeneration of the Salford Meadow.