Brighton residents have welcomed a new landmark to the city skyline after a stunning new footbridge was lifted into place across Lewes Road over the weekend.
The bridge is the final piece of the University of Brighton’s ‘Big Build’ transformation of its Moulsecoomb campus and U+I’s Preston Barracks development, which includes new student accommodation, the new Elm House academic building, new Students Union and fitness facilities, hundreds of homes and the Plus-X innovation hub.
It will provide a simple, fast, and safe link for communities on either side of Lewes Road, connecting the University with the Preston Barracks development and improving access to Moulsecoomb station. A lift will give access to the raised, western end of the bridge deck for those unable to use the stairs, providing a new, fully accessible route for pedestrians and dismounted cyclists.
The steel and concrete bridge weighs almost 200 tonnes in total – equivalent to 15 double-decker buses – and forms an impressive new gateway to the city above one of Brighton’s busiest transport routes.
It was installed over the weekend by a team of engineers working round-the-clock from late on Friday night through to the early hours of Monday morning. Crowds took advantage of closed roads to gather and watch as two giant steel beams spanning the full width of Lewes Road were winched carefully into place, followed by six giant interlinked panels which together form the bridge deck.
Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton, said: “The Big Build has already transformed our Moulsecoomb campus and breathed new life into this part of the city. The addition of this stunning new bridge is the icing on the cake and has created a truly iconic gateway to the city that benefits the whole community. I can’t wait to see it open!
“I’m incredibly grateful for all the planning and hard work that has made this happen, not just from colleagues at the University but also Brighton & Hove City Council, our partners at U+I and the engineers at Beaver Bridges who designed, built and installed this incredible structure.”
Richard Upton, Chief Executive Officer of U+I, said: “The Lewes Road bridge is an important part of the transformation of this area of the city, where we are creating affordable new homes, shops and job opportunities and it is exciting to see it up and in place, helping to link local communities.”
The bridge is due to open to the public later in the spring, allowing time to surface the bridge deck, install the lift and utilities including CCTV, lighting and drainage. It will be topped off with striking cladding and architectural steel fins.