Footbridge opens in New Islington

Michael Hunt

A new swing bridge has opened in New Islington, east Manchester, as part of extensive refurbishment work being carried out in the area.

The North West Development Agency has provided £4.4m towards the public realm work, which includes work on a new marina for narrow boats and promenade, bridges and pathways to connect the area with Ancoats and a park keepers hut to house amenities for boaters.

The footbridge forms part of the new promenade that links Ancoats Urban Village with New Islington and the new Metrolink station on Pollard Street, due to open spring 2012.

The ten metre long steel bridge has slip resistant timber decking and wooden hand rails and is nearly 2.5 metres wide to allow cyclists to use it easily.

The bridge is within the new marina, currently being built, and next to the Chips building, designed by Will Alsop.

The public realm work is being under taken by developer Urban Splash, on behalf of urban regeneration company New East Manchester, in partnership with the NWDA, the Homes & Communities Agency and Great Places Housing Group.

Eddie Smith, chief executive of New East Manchester, said: "This is the last of five swing bridges to be put in place along the promenade currently being built in New Islington, so this is an important milestone in the development of New Islington. This bridge will help connect the tram station on Pollard Street and Cotton Field, the newly created park, allowing local residents and visitors easy access to this stunning new public space on the edge of the city centre."

Paul Lakin, director of land and property at the NWDA, added: "The regeneration of New Islington was a major project at risk of stalling because of market conditions. Now, huge changes are taking place to create an attractive environment which will spark private sector investment.
"Finishing the bridge is a key step in our objective to improve overall access which will bring new life and vitality to New Islington."

New East Manchester said the first section of promenade will open to the public before Christmas, with the full length expected to be open by spring next year.

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