John Smeaton Viaduct, Leeds Inner Ring Road


John Smeaton Viaduct (formerly Hunslet Viaduct)

A61 over Hunslet Road, Leeds

Grid Ref SE 309 321                                            Date of Construction 2006 - 2008

One of the last schemes to come to fruition during my time as Chief Bridge Engineer and latterly Bridges Manager at Leeds City Council was the final stage (Stage7) of the Leeds Inner Ring Road. The Inner Ring Road runs around the City centre from the M621 Motorway at the Elland Road Football Ground in the west, across the River Aire, through the Woodhouse Lane tunnels to the north of the city centre then leaving the A64 York Road swinging south east and recrossing the River Aire at the newly constructed Richmond bridge before reconnecting with the M621 Motorway after passing over the Hunslet Viaduct.

The viaduct consists of a steel ladder beam and reinforced concrete deck supported on reinforced concrete piers on bored pile foundations.  The steel beams are notable for being fabricated from Corten weathering steel which forms a self-protecting patina and never needs painting. It is believed that this is the largest urban example of the use of this type of steel in the UK.

My role was as Technical Approval Authority for the design and construction up to my retirement in April 2007.

The viaduct was originally designed within Leeds City Council’s Department of Engineering Services but later modified by a joint team of Mouchel Parkman and Leeds City Council engineers under a partnership agreement. Construction was by Alfred McAlpine under an Early Contractor Involvement contract.

Hunslet Viaduct was  officially re-named the John Smeaton Viaduct in honour of the famous local Civil Engineer.

An aerial view of the viaduct and the A61 between the M621 motorway and the A63 junction can be seen on

The following page contains construction photographs.

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