Thousands support campaign to restore historic Eccles bridge

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Thousands of people have signed a petition to restore an historical bridge on the Manchester Ship Canal.

Almost 3,000 people have backed the campaign to repair the Grade 2 listed Barton Swing Bridge, which connects Eccles and Trafford Park.

The bridge, which regularly carries road traffic on the B5211, is now visibly rusting with parts of the structure peeling off.

The bridge is now visibly rusting. Credit: Google 2018.

It is owned by Peel Holdings as part of Peel Ports, but the construction giant, according to the creator of the petition, appear reluctant to restore it.

Phil Franks, 33, who was born in Eccles before moving to Suffolk ten years ago, started the petition after seeing the bridge deteriorate over the years.

He said: “We walked on the bridge last week as a family and we noticed how bad it got and that made me think, ‘why not start a petition?’

“The paint has come loose and the water has got in. The rust is now setting in and turning into rot rather than just surface rust. You can actually pieces of the bridge physically coming off.

“It’s just not acceptable.”

Barton Swing Bridge was opened in 1894 during the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal and was originally intended to let horse-drawn carriages pass across.

Opening of Barton Swing Bridge. By James Mudd (d 1906) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It opens up to allow ships to pass through up to 14 times a day to allow ships to pass through its rotating structure, as the only swing road bridge on the canal.

Mr Franks continued: “It has played a huge part of the infrastructure of the area, and it’s kept things moving over the years. And without that bridge a lot of what Eccles and Trafford have got now wouldn’t be possible.

 

“It’s almost a key in a very big lock that has brought so much to the area over the years in different industries and it just shouldn’t be allowed to fade away.

“What we want to try and avoid is that the bridge is left to rot and gets to a stage where it’s more cost effective just to replace the bridge.  I know a lot of people don’t want that to happen.”

Peel were not available for comment when approached.

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