As part of University of Manchester’s £50m plans to redevelop the Manchester Business School (MBS), the iconic redbrick footbridge of University of Manchester (UoM) is being knocked down to improve views and light levels in the area.
The plans – part of MBS’ phase two – focus on revamping the existing precinct centre to create a 40,500 sq ft “retail and leisure area designed to host a mix of high quality brands and amenities”, UoM said.
As workmen tear down the bridge today, part of Oxford Road will be closed which means commuters will have to take alternative routes to Europe’s busiest bus route.
“Oxford Road will be closed to through traffic between Booth Street East and Hathersage Road from the early hours of Monday 10 August for four weeks until Sunday 6 September”, the Transport for Greater Manchester has announced.
For many students, local residents and indeed visitors to the Manchester Corridor, the bridge has been emblematic of what they love about Manchester – another red brick fixture that doesn’t conform to the cantilevering glass of metropolitan city life.
Also attached to the bridge are Blackwells Bookstore and a Starbucks cafe, both of whom will be affected by the remodelling and redevelopment of the area. Speaking to TNT today, Blackwells manager Paul Thornton said the store will be closing temporarily on Saturday before reopening the next Monday 17 August.
“We are working together with the University of Manchester in regards to where we will be temporarily moving to for 18 months by the end of 2015. There is no date set on when exactly we will be back in the new building in the foreseeable future; that is still to be confirmed”, Thornton told TNT.
Nonetheless, there has been very little retail or leisure provision between the city centre and Whitworth Park. The Manchester Corridor stretches from St Peter’s Square in Manchester city centre to Whitworth Park. Thus “This development forms part of the University’s ten-year, £1 billion Campus Masterplan to create some of the most modern campus facilities in the world” for the 75,000 students between Manchester’s two universities.
Although temporary diversions will be clearly signposted so that users will be aware of any alternative routes, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians do face disrupted journeys along the Oxford Road.
TNT News Yasin Chinembiri