- Engineering: Arup
- City: Kingston upon Hull
- Country: United Kingdom
Text description provided by the architects. The new ‘Murdoch’s Connection’ footbridge in Hull, England opened to the public in March 2021. Following a public vote it is named after the city’s first female GP, Dr Mary Murdoch. The pedestrian bridge was designed by Arup and Matter Architecture for Highways England. It improves pedestrian and cycle routes over the heavily trafficked A63 highway and helps to reconnect the city centre to the fast-regenerating waterfront area. It has already become a distinctive new landmark for the city, a gateway to the historic Old Town area and a well-used civic space.
The steel and concrete deck of the 40m span bridge is suspended from an elegant steel arch/shell hybrid structure that also acts as a canopy which turns up at each end to create sheltered viewing points.
Although land available at both sides was limited, the approaches to the bridge have been designed as landscaped public spaces of differing character, providing places for people to enjoy the journey and great views over the city and docks. Terraced landscaping screens space the traffic while providing a choice of gently sloping and stepped routes which connect in multiple directions to integrate the bridge into the city. The north approach beside Princes Quay dock is predominantly soft landscaped while the south side has paved terracing with integrated steps, seating, and ramp to create a ‘grandstand’ overlooking the Marina.
The highly constrained site sits between two dock basins and above the lock structure that used to connect them. Poor ground conditions, flood risk, archaeological features, and proximity to a busy highway combined to make extremely challenging site conditions for the construction of both bridge and approaches.
Fabricated in sections by SH Structures using double-curved steel plate, the finely executed steelwork of the 150tonne bridge structure was assembled near the site then transported down the highway as a single piece on a self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) in order to minimise road closure. The project has been delivered as part of a wider A63 highways improvement scheme.