Landmark bridge the centrepiece for Castleford mastrerplan
McDowell+Benedetti were chosen in 2003 by local community representatives as winners of an invited competition to design a landmark bridge and waterfront regeneration masterplan for Castleford Bay. Close consultation with the community ‘project champions’ continued throughout. The regeneration was promoted in the UK by Channel 4 with the design process filmed for a TV documentary 'Kevin McCloud’s Big Town Plan' which aired in August 2008.
Simple temporary paths at each bank connect to Aire Street and Mill Lane pending future phases of the regeneration masterplan, including the realignment of Aire St. to increase riverside public realm whilst improving safe pedestrian access, and south bank public square and pavilion buildings. A south bank boardwalk (partly built, ready for extension in future) provides a new public riverside connection between the old and new bridges and releases further regeneration sites. The scheme also indludes a new North bank landscaped park, belvedere and ‘beach’ area, a cohesive 'string of pearls' civic lighting strategy surrounding the Bay, and a new fish pass within the historic Weir apron.
The new 130m long, 4m wide footbridge forms an elegant sinuous curve over Castleford Bay, uniting disparate communities on the North and South of the river and creating a safer and more pleasant pedestrian route than the narrow 200 year-old Victorian road bridge further downstream. The ‘S’ shaped bridge curves in response to the site context of the mill, the weir and old wrecked barge, giving users maximum experience of these landmarks and the lively flow of white water over the Weir apron. Anchored by only three V-shaped supports, the streamlined untreated Cumaru hardwood deck structure appears to hover over the River Aire offering a ‘magic carpet’ from which to enjoy the picturesque setting.
Designed as a public space and not just as a route, the innovative structure rises from the bespoke timber deck to create four 20m long curving benches to sit and enjoy panoramic views. The popularity of the bridge has re-directed attention to Castleford’s riverside acting as a catalyst for future phases of our waterfront regeneration masterplan.
McDowell+Benedetti were the sole appointment by WMDC to design and project manage the bridge, with the following sub-consultants: engineers Alan Baxter & Associates and Arup, lighting advisors Sutton Vane Associates and QS Philip Pank Partnership.