Wainwright Bridge officially opens

1 July 2008

The 800-tonne Wainwright Bridge in Blackburn has officially opened.

The Highway and Infrastructure team from Capita Symonds’ Blackburn office oversaw the design, procurement and project management of the £8m bridge project which is a fundamental part of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s plans for the area’s regeneration.

The new bridge is part of the first phase of the proposed link road between Bolton Road and Montague Street which will forms part of the Blackburn Orbital Route – a comprehensive overhaul of the main access routes in and around the town. The bridge will also provide vital access to nearby 'brownfield' sites that have been earmarked for priority redevelopment as well as improving connections to the local rail freight terminal.

Capita Symonds provided structure design, project management, civil engineering and landscape services on the project, which consists of a single span 78m span steel bowstring arch bridge with a steel/concrete composite deck carrying the dual carriageway which connects Bolton Road to Canterbury Street. The previous four-span bridge was restricted to a single lane one-way traffic flow from south to north and was assessed as sub–standard in load carrying capacity with a maximum 17 ton vehicle weight limit.

The scheme’s contractor - Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering - began demolition of the original bridge in September 2006 while construction of the new structure began in November 2006.The majority of the funding for the scheme was provided by the Department for Transport.
The bridge was named after Alfred Wainwright, the famous fell walker and author of popular guides to walking in the Lake District. The name was chosen after Blackburn with Darwen residents voted in a bridge naming competition organised by local newspaper The Lancashire Telegraph.

School children from the local St Anne’s RC Primary School were the first to use the bridge, cycling across after a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen - Councillor Mohammed Khan - and MP Jack Straw.

Councillor Alan Cottam, executive member for regeneration, said: “The Wainwright Bridge is a modern full width bridge for all – cyclists, buses and cars. It does not have a height restrictions like Darwen Street bridge and will bring traffic onto the new link road, which also has access to all the car parks. It will also open up a large area of the town centre for commercial development and regeneration.”

Capita Symonds' Technical Director, Faris Samin said "This is by far the most challenging civil engineering project we have delivered in Blackburn. The team overcame significant technical challenges in order to complete this landmark structure which will be a catalyst for the Borough's ambitious regeneration strategy. We are now looking forward to the completion of the next phase which will see the creation of a direct link road between Bolton Road and Montague Street.”