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Ordsall Chord: Work starts on restoration of historic Stephenson’s bridge

Rail engineers are about to undertake the painstaking restoration of the historic Stephenson’s Bridge in Salford as work on the Ordsall Chord takes another step forward.

The Grade I-listed bridge, built in 1830, is a vital part of local history but has been neglected and obscured for decades by other structures which have been built nearby.

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Watch: Ordsall Chord £85m refurb to go ahead after heritage row

Network Rail has removed the old Princes Bridge – the footbridge which obscured the view of and access to Stephenson’s bridge – and can now gain access to carry out the restoration work.

Giant cranes winched the bridge out of position and work will also continue to remove a large steel girder to provide a full view of the bridge.

Rail buff Pete Waterman spoke to SalfordOnline.com in February, telling how the Ordsall Chord to link Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria stations would “put the UK at the forefront of engineering for the first time in 30 years”.

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The project is now back on track after a heritage row over the Grade I-listed Bridge.

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It was delayed by public enquiry but the High Court has ruled the building work can now go ahead.

The Ordsall Chord is due to be completed by December 2017.

Terry Strickland, area director for Network Rail, said: “Work is progressing as part of the Ordsall Chord development and we are really seeing things change on site.

Following the removal of Princes Bridge, the girder extension will be taken down and the rejuvenation of Stephenson’s Bridge will continue at a pace.

“A new footbridge will cross the River Irwell and will allow members of the public to view Stephenson’s Bridge close at hand for the first time in over 150 years,” said Strickland.

“From there, you will be able to fully appreciate the detail of George Stephenson’s work and have a taste of how the bridge looked when it was first built.”

The Ordsall Chord will also provide direct links to Manchester Airport from across the north.

The new footbridge over the River Irwell will be installed later this year.

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.