WGIS2_1 (1)

Western Gateway Infrastructure Scheme (WGIS) is part of a wider project to increase road network capacity and improve transport links over the Manchester Ship Canal to support development. Working in joint venture, HOCHTIEF built 2km of dual carriageway from the A57 to Bridgewater Circle, improved roundabouts at junctions10 and 11 of the M60 and widened roads leading to the Trafford Centre. We also built two bridges, including a 50m lifting bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal.

Key features:

  • 50m lifting bridge over Manchester Ship Canal
  • 2km dual carriageway
  • Road resurfacing/re-alignment
  • Roundabout improvements
  • Landscaping, new wetlands
  • Utilities diversions

The new lifting bridge has a movable deck, suspended between four pillars, that can be lifted to 24.8m above water level to allow ships to pass beneath.

During a weight test in May 2016, the deck collapsed after cables supporting it snapped.Our robust safety procedures meant that nobody was injured, but the deck was heavily damaged.

After recycling 100% of the original deck, we built a new deck from scratch. We rigorously revisited the design and commissioning process to guarantee that the new deck would hold, and we built in new safety features to ensure its stability.

We constructed the new deck on land 400m away from the canal, completing the welding and surfacing so that we could launch it over the canal in one section. Using Self-Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMTs), we drove the completed deck up to the abutment then launched it out onto a barge to be floated into position and lifted into place. Our method minimised work at height and increased efficiency.

The bridge opened to traffic in December 2017 and has been successfully lifted three times a week since with no issues.