This is the Barton Swing Road Bridge which links the city of Salford to the Borough of Trafford in Manchester. The bridge crosses the River Irwell which is part of the Manchester Ship Canal. The canal is an inland waterway, 36 miles long which starts at the Mersey Estuary in Liverpool and follows the routes of the rivers Mersey and Irwell. It allowed ships to come inland to the port of Manchester. The Barton Road Bridge swings open to allow the large ships to travel to and from Manchester.
About a hundred metres away from the road bridge is the Barton Aqueduct. The original aqueduct was built in 1761 to take the Bridgewater canal over the River Irwell. The canal was needed to take the coal from the collieries in Worsley to Manchester about 10 miles away. It was considered an engineering wonder of the industrial age. With the building of the Manchester Ship Canal a new aqueduct was needed which could swing out of the way to allow the ships to go through.
The Barton Swing Aqueduct was opened in 1893. The aqueduct swings open, full of water, to allow the larger ships to sail freely along the Manchester Ship Canal.
The Barton Road Bridge in the background with the aqueduct in the foreground and in between is the control tower.
It is possible to walk alongside the Bridgewater canal but not along the swing section. Strolling by the canal on Monday morning in the bright sunshine the water was so still it was like looking into a mirror.