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Mailbox, Birmingham

The bridge is a vital element in the Mailbox development, providing pedestrian access to it from the Birmingham and Worcester Canal towpath network, including Gas Street Basin and the Convention Centre quarter beyond.

The footbridge crosses the canal at its junction with Holliday Street Wharf. On the Gas Street Basin side, it springs from a ramp at the edge of the towpath, which has been widened to emphasize the pedestrian route. On the wharf side it is supported by a 'node' - a cone-shaped structure clad with blue brick, which contains a passenger lift and stairs to connect the towpath to bridge level. The node was conceived as a 'townscape marker'; the stairs and lift lead to an upper level observation platform sheltered with a glass canopy.

A prismatic truss of tubular members runs below the bridge as the primary support structure; a series of paired 146 x 127mm Tshaped sections welded to the top booms support the deck and balustrade.The top flanges of the T-sections are removed at the ends to accommodate a kickplate, a 100 x 75mm galvanized steel angle at each side of the deck, and to form tapering fins which project beyond the balustrade.The deck,400mm wide perforated extruded aluminium planks, spans between the two kickplates.

On each side of the footbridge is a balustrade of 4mm diameter stainless steel cables.They are tensioned between paired balusters, comprising 80 x 10mm steel flats bolted at their bases to both sides of the T-section deck supports.The balusters are grouped in pairs with a lighting unit and a perforated metal access panel fitted between each pair. Additional lighting is fixed to the underside to light the water and shine through the deck.

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