Special logistics – saving time in bridge installations


When bridges need building, one of the biggest challenges for contractors is time: how to complete a job efficiently so that minimum disruption is caused to travellers, commuters, businesses, and bottom lines.

In Manchester, we were able to help mitigate the impact of downtime and road closures when we helped to install a new, £6 million pedestrian and cycle bridge over the M56 motorway spur road at Airport City – linking two key parts of the Manchester Airport extension.

We undertook this project for Cleveland Bridge UK, who were working for BCEGI UK Construction – the Principal Contractor, working with Airport City Ltd.


The bridge itself spans a void of 52.5 meters, although the completed length is 98m. The central section, which we moved into place, was 81m long.

All in all, this structure will link the site to the airport’s transport interchange and terminals, as well as providing direct access for pedestrians and cyclists travelling to and from Wythenshawe and wider local area. As a critical piece of infrastructure, it needs to last at least one lifetime if not more and weathering Cor-Ten steel made this a heavy lift in every sense.


We worked in partnership with Cleveland Bridge to assemble the components, delivered to site, and then install them using our hydraulic gantry system. By installing the bridge fully-assembled, we can reduce downtime on the project instantly. This has become a signature skill for Osprey’s bridge logistics’ teams: our heavy-lift cranes enable us to load the fully assembled bridge onto Self Propelled Modular Transporters and, having manoeuvred the structure into position, carry out self-offloading with minimum disruption.

It’s another example for us, too, of how much can be achieved by working in close collaboration. At this location, early planning meant we could consider the less common aspects of a bridge installation project – such as working in the area under flight paths, near airport control towers and radar – and to ensure our team provided everything needs to get Cleveland Bridge’s infrastructure into place for BCEGI UK, on time and on budget.

Want to learn more? Contact us for more details. 

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