The Grade II listed Stockport Viaduct in Greater Manchester is in danger of becoming a safety hazard unless repair works are carried out, say Network Rail.
The iconic Stockport Viaduct is in danger of becoming a safety hazard unless urgent bridge repair works are carried out, according to Network Rail. The organisation has submitted a planning application to Stockport Council to carry out remedial works for defects that could affect the load-bearing capacity of the structure, Place Northwest reports.
The redbrick viaduct is a landmark of the northwest town that lies 10 miles south of Manchester. It was built in 1840 to span the valley of the River Mersey, carrying the West Coast main line between Stockport and Heaton Chapel station. It is 33 metres high and today also spans the M60 ring road as well as the famous River Mersey.
The 183-year old structure was designed by George Watson Buck and the architect John Lowe for the Manchester and Birmingham Railway company, with the first section completed in 1840 and the second in 1889 to accommodate two more tracks. It consists of 27 span arches and is a Grade II* listed structure.
The structure is suffering from age-related deterioration and also requires vegetation removal, cleaning, and drainage unblocking.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “This planned investment will ensure we’re keeping this important heritage asset in tip-top condition for years to come.”
The rail company wrote in a planning statement: “The proposed development is considered necessary to improve and extend the safe operation of the viaduct, which in turn preserves the buildings character and use.”
It adds that “multiple defects are now present across the structure, which if left may affect its load bearing capacity. Other defects such as typical spalling is present, due to the height of the viaduct these can present a safety risk to people and property below.”
Stockport is currently undergoing a major regeneration programme of the town centre to create new residential neighbourhoods and amenities. An eight acre site close to the viaduct is being redeveloped under a £250m scheme to create 1,200 new homes, plus new retail, office, and leisure facilities.
Stockport Mayoral Development is working with the English Cities Fund in a joint venture partnership to develop the site, currently known as Stockport 8. The government’s housing and regeneration agency Homes England is also involved in the project.
Lord Kerslake, Chair of Stockport MDC, said “Work to deliver the Town Centre West masterplan is continuing at pace, with a number of our landmark schemes such as the Interchange, Weir Mill and the latest phase of Stockport Exchange, completing this year and next.”
“This latest milestone is another major step forward in our plan to create one of the most liveable town centres, not only in the region, but in the UK.”
Like many other towns in the UK, Stockport has been badly affected by changing consumer habits, and many high street retailers have left the town centre in recent years.