TUNNEL VISION… Picture the scene: you’re a contractor looking to price a project, and an architect hands you this render, which shows you having to build over a Metrolink line. Have fun. The latest designs from SimpsonHaugh for Ask’s scheme at the former Bauer Millett garage in Manchester show just that, with the tram’s existing ramp from Deansgate-Castlefield station descending underneath part of the development’s office block. The mixed-use development, recently rebranded as Viadux from its former name Found Space, has a development value of £300m and will include 750,000 sq ft of residential, offices, and public realm. Main contractor Carillion was lined up to build it before its collapse earlier this year, meaning the complicated project is now up for grabs.
JOE’S JAZZ HANDS… The Mayor of Liverpool is known for his enthusiasm when it comes to press photo calls, with Joe-Anderson-doing-a-thumbs-up becoming a staple fixture. Now, however, Joe’s decided to up his game with a new look – the jazz hands. Perhaps this is a new level of delight that a thumbs-up just doesn’t do justice to, but he certainly looks pleased in the picture above, almost unable to contain his joy at roadworks completing in Sefton Park. The jazz hands is Joe’s way of announcing the council will sign off a £200m package of roads improvement across the city to sort out those pesky potholes – and just in time for local elections, too. Whether such an obvious vote-winner should be touted during purdah period, when public resources such as council press offices are banned from doing anything which could be seen to be promoting a party or individual up for election, is another matter.
GOING FOR GOLD… Congratulations to Mike Coogan, associate director at Croft Transport Planning, who won gold in the 200m at the European Indoor Master Athletics Championships in Madrid. Running in the age 45 to 50 category, it was a tight victory, too: his time of 23.10 seconds was only 100th of a second quicker than his nearest rival, second-placed Xavier Ortiz of Spain. The medal was the third time Coogan has taken gold in the Championships, previously winning the 400m in 2015 and 2016, and he is now number one in the world in his age group for both 200m and 400m.
SEDDON’S SOAP OPERA… While your author must confess to never having watched Coronation Street – and is unlikely to do so tonight – the soap’s new set, built by Bolton-based contractor Seddon, will make its debut this evening. Seddon began working on the project in July 2017, and over an eight-month construction programme Seddon has extended the set to include a tram stop and community garden. Using 7,000 cobbles, 200,000 bricks, 2,500 tonnes of cast stone, and 6,500 tonnes of concrete, the project has been a challenge for Seddon having been completed in a live filming environment. Tune in to ITV at 7:30pm tonight to see the set in action for the first time. A quick Google reveals Pat Phelan could be returning… whatever that means.
IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY… Lightsabers at the ready: a whole garrison of Stormtroopers is set to descend on Seacombe next weekend to celebrate the first anniversary of the Sci-Fi Icons exhibition. Held at Spaceport, the exhibition features the 99th Garrison, apparently a globally renowned Stormtrooper costume team who may be familiar to many, having been spotted earlier this year at the Stockport Redrock launch. The troopers will be greeting guests and helping to raise money for Liverpool-based charity, the Walking With Giants Foundation. The stormtroopers will be performing throughout the weekend at the exhibition, which features an extensive selection of Star Wars memorabilia. Other favourites, including C-3PO, R2-D2, Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett and Darth Vader will also be present for the event, which runs between the 28th and 29th of April. Sadly, there won’t be a Jar-Jar Binks.