A NORTH-EAST engineering firm has installed a "key component" of the Airport City Manchester masterplan – a unique bridge deemed a striking addition to the local landscape in one of the Northern Powerhouse's key cities.

Darlington-based Cleveland Bridge has helped Airport City Manchester achieve a significant milestone with the installation of a landmark pedestrian and cycle bridge over the M56 spur airport approach road.

The £6m pedestrian and cycle bridge has been part-funded by Manchester City Council, whose 50% contribution to the project helps deliver a sustainable connection from the Airport City Manchester site directly to rail, bus and tram links, as well as providing direct access to pedestrians and cyclists travelling to and from surrounding areas.

Designed by Manchester architects 5Plus and structurally designed by RoC Consulting, the 52.5m long and 6m wide bridge is a striking addition to the landscape at Airport City Manchester.

Weighing over 380 tonnes, it was rolled into position overnight by a specialised team of eight people, using two, 800 tonne, 20 axle self-propelled modular transporters.

This latest piece of vital infrastructure was fabricated by 150-year-old firm Cleveland Bridge, which, working closely with main contractor BCEGi, was also responsible for undertaking the complex 12-hour installation.

Chris Droogan, Managing Director of Cleveland Bridge, said: “We are very proud to be part of such an important stage of the development of Airport City Manchester, which is such a significant location for the North of England.

"The unique design of the bridge, with its extensive collection of perforations, required the extensive experience of our skilled engineers and fabricators who have transformed the architect’s vision into a structure that can be enjoyed by visitors and local people.”

Set to open to the public in November, the bridge will also serve as a vital link across the 73-acre site of main development land at Airport City Manchester, which has the capacity to deliver a diverse range of over 15,000 jobs across a number of sectors.

Jonathan Haigh, managing director of MAG Property and Airport City Manchester Development Management leader, said: “The new bridge is a key component of the Airport City Manchester masterplan and will underpin increased usage of public transport to more sustainably facilitate occupier needs and enhance convenience for employees, visitors and neighbouring residents.

“It’s a striking addition to the local landscape, with the architecture reflecting our ambition to create a real sense of place and signal a high quality of environment.

"The bridge connects the emerging hotel district south of the M56 spur road to the larger swathe of development-ready land to the north, which is earmarked primarily for office and ancillary uses. It also enables car parking to be decanted away from the heart of the scheme helping to enrich the amenity value of public open spaces."

Cleveland Bridge specialised in the fabrication and erection of steel bridges, high-rise buildings and other steel structures, delivering these structures globally.