The iconic Lowry bridge at Salford Quays is to be refurbished to take it through the next quarter century.
Also known as the Salford Quays Millennium bridge, the £6 million architect-designed structure which runs between the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal was installed in 2000 and has only had minor, routine maintenance work since.
Councillor Mike McCusker, lead member for planning, transport and sustainable development, said: “Routine inspection work has shown that the bridge needs work to extend its lifespan and prevent more costly work in the future. National road and bridge guidelines say paintwork should be renewed every 20 years to protect the structure so the Lowry Bridge is due its facelift.
“It’s also an opportunity to repair lighting and the deck surface which is now rather worn after 23 years of heavy foot traffic. The bridge will remain fully open on match days and during major events but at other times we may need to narrow the footpath slightly during the day to keep the bridge safely in use.”
Councillor Jack Youd, lead member for finance added: “The contract is also a great opportunity to get social value for Salford from our spend – something the council is strongly committed to. The contractors will employ local people, use local suppliers, many of which are small businesses and will donate materials and time to local community improvement projects, worth around £2,400.”
The bridge, which can raise or lower 18 metres (59 feet) in under three minutes to allow large ships to pass beneath, will not be raised during the refurbishment which is expected to last four months.
Contractors will use scaffolding to spray paint the 91 metre (299 feet) span and a cherry picker to paint the very top of the bridge by hand, which is 13 metres above the deck. The scaffolding will be covered to prevent paint or other debris dropping into the water below.
The cost of the refurbishment, which includes minor repairs to the structure and lights, resurfacing the footway and painting the huge span is £777,480. Scaffolding is expected to start next week.