Funded by the Mayors Challenge Fund, the £4.8m proposed walk and cycle path is designed by Planit-IE on behalf of the Bridgewater Canal Company, which is owned by Peel L&P.
The path will allow walkers and cyclists to travel over the Manchester Ship Canal between Salford and Trafford without encountering traffic. Currently, they must go across Barton Road Bridge, which has a narrow carriageway. Once construction is complete, it will link up two key parts of the Bridgewater Way, providing a continuous traffic-free 20-mile route between Wigan, Salford, Castlefield, Trafford and Altrincham.
“There have been ambitions to deliver improvements to Barton Aqueduct and reinstate the elevated walkway for a number of years,” said Peter Parkinson, director of the Bridgewater Canal. “Following a public consultation, we’re thrilled to be bringing the plans forward to improve the area for walkers, runners and cyclists.”
Those on the path will have access to the Barton Swing Aqueduct, a grade two-listed structure that was built in 1894. The aqueduct was the first and only canal swing aqueduct in the world, according to landscape architect Planit-IE. Heritage interpretation boards will be set up along the path to explain the site’s history.
The proposed elevated path will connect Chapel Place to Upper Pocket Park. It will be three metres wide, except for when it passes through the swing aqueduct. At that point, it will be just two metres wide between handrails.
Several trees, including five larger ones, will be removed as part of the plan. However, they will be replaced at a ratio of 2:1. Construction plans also involve the seeding of wildflowers.
Plans were submitted this week to Salford and Trafford councils. If approved, construction will begin by the end of this year.
The project team includes Eden Planning, heritage consultant Turley Heritage, lead design engineer Royal HaskoningDHV, as well as Walker Sime as QS, The Environment Partnership, and the Traffic, Transport & Highway Consultancy.