Architect Stephen Hodder has claimed his iconic Corporation Street bridge, which will close for six months to allow for ‘essential safety work’, is not dangerous
Last week Manchester City Council announced that the landmark bridge, which replaced the previous ‘unloved’ link destroyed by the IRA terrorist blast in Manchester in June 1996, would need to undergo a £730,000 overhaul ‘before the bridge became a potential danger’.
However Hodder, who has been asked to work with original design engineers Arup on the refurbishment, played down the safety fears. He said: ‘The bridge is not dangerous, it is just unsightly and it is still being used.
He added: ‘Admittedly the bridge has had a hammering. The boardwalk is terribly worn and because of its iconic nature it does take a lot of traffic.
‘The [link] had not been cleaned for ages and was a due a refurbishment. It has been so successful the only issue for me is the disruption to the public thoroughfare.’
It is understood a new bonded glass glazing system will be installed to replace the existing glass, which was brought in from a hurricane-proof specialist in Florida, and is now delaminating.
According to the council, test have revealed problems with defective glass panels on the 11-year-old hyperboloid walkway, which links Manchester Arndale with Marks & Spencer and Selfridges.
The cost is being split between Manchester Arndale’s joint owners and Manchester City Council, which owns the freehold on the bridge. Each party will pay around £365,000.
City centre spokesman Councillor Pat Karney said: ‘Doing nothing is simply not an option. There’s never a good time for work like this to take place but it is necessary. Ignoring it would have left us with a bigger problem further down the line and been a false economy. We have tried to time this to minimise disruption as much as possible.
‘We would obviously prefer not to have to do this during a difficult financial climate, but allowing the bridge to deteriorate would have been a false economy and incur substantial extra cost.’