A long-awaited £12m footbridge will be finally lifted into place next week, spanning one of Hull’s busiest roads and reuniting the city centre with its waterfront.
Businesses in the regenerated Fruit Market area are hoping the bridge from Princes Quay to Hull Marina will boost footfall, with visitors no longer having to wait at traffic-lights to cross the busy A63 leading to the city’s docks.
The A63 will be closed over the first weekend of November while the 150-tonne structure – which has been built by Leeds firm SH Structures – is installed.
But people will still have to wait until the spring – Highways England will not give a specific date –for the bridge to open, as there is more work to be done, including landscaping and installing lighting.
Ruby Deverell, from Thieving Harry’s café, said: “It is going to be great and it will definitely boost footfall. From a personal standpoint not having to wait at the traffic lights for minutes on end will be great.”
Caz Pendleton, manager of Poorboy Boutique, added: “Anything that makes access to the area easier is going to improve things.”
Adam Fowler, of the City of Hull Environment Forum, said the bridge would “remarry” the two parts of the Old Town that were severed by the building of the A63, 40 years ago.
He said: “Humber Street is enjoying a regeneration boom, with the imminent arrival of Arco’s headquarters on Blackfriargate, the further extension to C4DI and all the housing behind Blanket Row.
“The bridge will also help with major events like the Freedom Festival which may well be relocated, following the successful Lottery money for Queens Gardens.”
The bridge has already been delivered to site in 11 separate pieces, where it has been assembled and welded ready for moving into position.
It will be driven on four mobile platforms on to the A63, then manoeuvred into place in a sequence of turns during the road closure.
The full closure will be in place from Myton Gate Roundabout (eastbound and westbound through to Roger Millward Way (westbound) from 8pm on Friday 1 November until 6 am on Monday 4 November.
Highways England project manager Tom Peckitt thanked motorists for their patience. A full closure of the A63 will be in place from Myton Gate Roundabout (eastbound and westbound through to Roger Millward Way (westbound) from 8pm on Friday 1 November until 6 am on Monday 4 November.
He said: “It is fantastic that we’ve reached this critical milestone for the project as we prepare to position the bridge into place.
“Once the bridge is installed at its final location the construction team will still have lots of work to do including installing the ramps and steps, and completing the marina platform and landscaping.”
The bridge will have sheltered viewing balconies at each end so people can take in stunning views across the waterfront and city centre.