The opening of the Broadway Link Road in 2010, called Coronet Way, introduced us all to a new view along the Manchester Ship Canal and particularly of the bulk of Centenary Bridge which can be seen as the road climbs over the railway line. This modern lift bridge joins Trafford Park on the south side of the Manchester Ship Canal with Eccles and the M602 and is an important transport link for the companies on Trafford Park, as well as enabling those of us who live on the northern side of the canal to reach Trafford Park for work and services. The bridge got its name as it was opened in 1994, the centenary of the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1894; the 36 mile long huge canal to Liverpool and the Irish Sea that took six years to build.
When I am cycling along this road I always stop to admire the bridge and the Manchester Ship Canal. The day I took this photograph I was deep in composition when I was joined by another cyclist who was keen to join me for a chat. He was enthusiastic about the spring weather, the view and the joys of cycling. We talked for some time about bikes and the best panniers; a conversation I would never have had if I hadn’t stopped to enjoy the view.
The Centenary Bridge is one of only three of its type of lift bridge and was the first low-level bridge to be built across the canal since it had opened. The bridge was the first with a lifting mechanism, rather than a swinging mechanism; the bridge lifts upwards to allow ships to pass through. The dual carriage way of Centenary Way was constructed in twelve sections and can lift 15 metres above the road level between the four towers. Each of the striking square towers is 30 metres high and has a framed indentation that says Centenary Bridge in vertical letters. The control room is on the Salford side of the bridge.
This video show the massive bulk of the dual carriageway being lowered after a ship has gone through on the Manchester Ship Canal. The raising of the bridge is an awesome sight that we have been lucky enough to catch just once as we drove from Media City. With reduced traffic on the canal, this doesn’t happen so often these days. If the Port Salford plans go ahead perhaps it will become a more common sight.