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Hall Ings Footbridge, Bradford                                                Grid Ref SE 164 328

Footway over Inner Ring Road A6181                                 Date of Construction 1976

Location Map   Hall Ings Footbridge     https://goo.gl/maps/1OoAC

1. Construction

In 1974 the West Riding County Council and the City of Bradford (amongst other County Boroughs ) were abolished by central government in Local Government reorganisation. The newly formed West Yorkshire County Council Department of Planning, Engineering and Transportation,   (DoPET) took over the highway structures functions.

In the Structural Engineering Unit at Chantry House in Wakefield, I was given the task of checking the design of a new footbridge in the centre of Bradford to be built in the Norfolk Gardens, beside City Hall, linking the City centre with the new Transport Interchange. The interchange  was to include a rebuilt Bradford Exchange railway station and completely new bus station. The footbridge was to provide an attractive route for pedestrians across the Inner Ring Road. On the south-east side of Hall Ings, next to the footbridge, an escalator was to be installed in addition to a staircase to provide access to the footbridge and the route into the Transport Interchange.

The contract documents were duly revised to WYMCC standards and the contract eventually let to JW Tait of Oakenshaw, Bradford. The contract cost was in the region of £131,000.

In 1976 I was appointed Resident Engineer, with the unenviable task of supervising construction of Bradford’s footbridge right under the noses of the structural engineers who had designed the bridge and who were still working up in the top floor of City Hall .

It was an interesting job, sadly starting with taking out flowering cherry trees in Norfolk Gardens.

The bridge piers were reinforced concrete in a complex V shape on bored pile foundations. The spiral ramp was in-situ reinforced concrete  in a cellular box configuration with extremely congested reinforcing steel, because of the torsional effects. The ramp slab included electrical cables for underfloor heating.

The main deck consisted of two precast prestressed beams, both of which were unstable until they were linked transversely.

The parapets were of aluminium but the specification called for painting in the Bradford light brown. I learned a lot about how to prepare aluminium for painting!

The construction of the staircase between the Norfolk Gardens Hotel and the Multi-storey car park was let as a separate contract. The escalator was supplied and installed by the Keighley company  O&K Escalators.

  1. 2.Demolition

In September 2009 demolition of the footbridge was begun. The contractor is R.A. Howard of Bradford. The following photographs  show the start of the demolition process. At the time of construction, the ‘Telegraph and Argus’ contained jokes that the footbridge was wide enough to take vehicles. The tyre marks on the deck surfacing show that vehicles can use the bridge!

The placard on the bridge declares that Bradford City Council is ‘Creating your City Park’. Is there someone in City Hall who remembers the flowering cherry trees in Norfolk Gardens before the Footbridge was built?

Sunday 4th October 2009 was a memorable day. This was the day when major sections of Hall Ings footbridge were lifted onto flatbed trailers and became STGO Cat3 Abnormal Loads  to be taken to a yard near to Foster Square to be broken up. The Telegraph and Argus were there to cover the event as were BBC Look North. I was interviewed by both.

Many photos were taken that day - far more than were ever taken during the construction phase. The main contractor R. A. Howard of Low Moor had commissioned a time lapse movie which was taken form the Multi-storey car park, which was closed to the public. Bradford City Council’s Bridge Engineer, Richard Todd, introduced me to Gina Lambert who had made contact with me earlier and was producing a web site for the main contractor.

Update - the bridge was demolished on Sunday 4th October 2009, and this nice little anecdote appeared in the Bradford Telegraph & Argus:

It was an emotional day for Richard Kay, 63, of Brighouse, who was the project engineer for West Yorkshire County Council when the Hall Ings footbridge was originally installed in the summer of 1976.

“I’m a little sad I must admit. It’s been part of our family folklore. We have a lot of family in Bradford and they all know it as Richard’s Footbridge, even though I was just a cog in the wheel. As a bridge engineer you like to think your creations are going to last and last but I always felt it was perhaps not as well used as it could have been.

“I’m pleased it’s going as part of this scheme to build a city park.”  

My complete set of photographs is available in my Flickr page.

A few of the most interesting are included below.

Hall Ings Footbridge September 2009

(Under Demolition)