Airport City, Manchester

Sunbelt Rentals Trakway provided the perfect solution for BCEGI when installing a 400 tonne bridge at Airport City , Manchester.

Customer Name
Project and Location
1 week
Products (Inc Quantity)

600 trakway panels


This project centres around the installation of a landmark £6 million pedestrian and cycle bridge over the M56 spur approach road leading to Airport City Manchester. Designed by Manchester architects 5Plus and structurally designed by RoC Consulting, the 95m long and 6m wide bridge connects Airport City Manchester to rail, bus and tram links, as well as providing direct access to pedestrians and cyclists. Around 25,000 people work on the airport site and the bridge also serves as a vital link across the 73-acre site of main development land at Airport City Manchester.

A brand-new 81m long section of the bridge, weighing over 400 tonnes, was placed into position overnight by a specialist team of eight people, using two, 120 tonne, 40 axle self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs). Main contractor BCEGI was responsible for undertaking the complex 12-hour installation alongside fabricator Cleveland Bridge UK.

BCEGI contacted Sunbelt Rentals prior to the installation seeking a Trakway solution to allow the SPMTs to move the bridge into position. This was the first time that BCEGI had used Trakway and we attended several meetings prior to installation to guide the client through the process and the methodology used.

The Challenge

The Trakway installation was carried out in two phases. The first phase was the week prior to the bridge being installed. We assembled a total of 405 Trakway panels on the north and south side of the M56 carriageway in a double element configuration. The access of both sides of the carriageway was completed within just four days.

The second phase was carried out on the actual day of the bridge installation. Four Sunbelt Rentals crews arrived promptly on-site on the Saturday evening ready for the road closure at 7.30pm. Once the road was closed, our crews began installing 195 Trakway panels across the main carriageway linking the north and south side access together to allow the SPMTs to move the bridge into position.

Time was of the essence as the bridge was scheduled to be moved at 10pm to allow time for the positioning and assembly of the structure before the road reopened the following morning. We managed to ensure that the Trakway was in position 30 minutes ahead of schedule, meaning that the bridge could be moved earlier than anticipated.

The Solution

Due to the heavy weight of the bridge, it took some time to move it into position and be assembled. The Sunbelt Rentals crews stayed on-site throughout the duration of the bridge installation and the structure was safely in place by 3am on the Sunday morning. At this point, the Sunbelt Rentals crews recovered the 195 Trakway panels and left site by 4.30am. This proved to be a huge advantage as it meant that the road could be reopened five hours earlier than originally scheduled, ensuring that disruption was minimised. The remaining 405 Trakway panels installed on the first phase were recovered the following day.

We were very impressed at how professional the crews were during the installation and how efficient Sunbelt Rentals was throughout this whole project.
Colin Arnold, Project Manager, BCEGI

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