New £12m gateway to Hull revealed for first time

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Even before it goes up this weekend a £12m bridge is attracting admiring fans.

People were stopping to take pictures as workers made last-minute preparations before the long-awaited footbridge over the main A63 to Hull docks is finally lifted into place.

Project Manager Tom Peckitt pictured by the new 12m footbridge Picture: Simon Hulme

Project Manager Tom Peckitt pictured by the new 12m footbridge Picture: Simon Hulme

Before it heads out onto the road, which will be closed until Monday, a traffic crossing will have to come down - along with seven lighting columns and 300ft of railings.

On Saturday afternoon - weather permitting - the 150-tonne structure will crawl out onto the A63 at under a mile an hour, carried on two Self-Propelled Modular Transporters which will be operated by one person using a giant remote control.

Project manager Tom Peckitt said they had a detailed forecast from the Met Office and were hopeful that with the wind easing in the afternoon, the operation will go ahead.

“Everything is ready to go. We have to do it safely and if there’s any risk we will call it off,”he said.

Artist's impression of the bridge in position on the A63

Artist's impression of the bridge in position on the A63

“The full weekend road closure is needed because there is a lot of preparation work to clear the road.

“There are lots of things in the way and we need to cordon off the whole area from pedestrians and vehicles so no one can get onto the site and cause a safety concern.

“To instal the bridge there is a sequence of tight turns to set it onto its permanent foundations.

“Then we will need to reinstate the road and get it ready to open to traffic on Monday morning.”

The bridge will be moved into place by two huge mobile platforms operated by remote control Picture Simon Hulme

The bridge will be moved into place by two huge mobile platforms operated by remote control Picture Simon Hulme

Businesses in the Fruit Market area are hoping the bridge will boost footfall, with people no longer having to wait at traffic lights to cross the A63.

The area round the Marina is enjoying a regeneration boom, with the imminent arrival of Arco’s headquarters on Blackfriargate, the further extension to C4DI and new housing behind Blanket Row.

Designed as a statement - a new gateway to the city - Mr Peckitt said people were already comparing its sinuous shape from everything from a ship to a whale.

Mr Peckitt said: “It is open to people’s interpretations - but there’s one thing you can say it is eye-catching - it is not your standard, boring bridge.”

Fabricated at SH Structures in Sherburn in Elmet, it was delivered to site in 11 separate pieces, before being assembled and welded together.

However it will not open until the Spring as more work including putting in the ramps and lighting still has to be done.

Council leader Steve Brady said: “The city is improving step by step. It’s a dangerous crossing, particularly when people gather in the middle of the road.

“It has been a hard slog and it has taken five years to convince them - there was no money in the first place for a bridge.

“The good things is it takes two sets of traffic lights out and it just eases a little bit the congestion.”

Retired civil engineer Chris Gill said: “I think it looks very impressive - they should have done it 30 or 40 years ago. I love the shape of it - I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The road will be closed from Myton Gate roundabout (eastbound and westbound) through to Roger Millward Way (westbound) until 6am on Monday.