One giant leap for Hull as Murdoch’s Connection is unveiled
It’s here! After more than 200,000 working hours a stunning structure that will shape the future of Hull has been unveiled.
Murdoch’s Connection, the new bridge on the A63, is now open to the public following the conclusion of the major Highways England project.
It immortalises the Hull’s first female GP, Dr Mary Murdoch. The name was picked by students from Newland School for Girls in an essay competition to decide which of the area’s many icons should be honoured. The public then voted from a shortlist of legendary figures.
The bridge links the city centre to the marina, waterfront and fruit market. It crosses the dual carriageway of the A63, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to safely cross the road, and will also ease congestion on the A63.
Plans to hold a physical unveiling were cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, however a pre-recorded opening ceremony features videos of Emma Hardy, MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, Cllr Darren Hale, deputy leader of Hull City Council, and other partners celebrating the opening.
Highways England acting chief executive Nick Harris said:
“I’m absolutely thrilled to see Murdoch’s Connection officially open, and everyone involved in this completing this engineering feat should be proud. The team worked diligently throughout the unprecedented challenge of Covid-19.
“This is an exciting moment for the people of Hull, thousands of whom voted to name the bridge after Dr Murdoch. They who have been so patient while we took the time to safely complete the job. A special thank you to the construction team for being so flexible and coping with the challenges of the pandemic, and our partners for their support.”
The unveiling of Murdoch’s Connection marks a significant milestone for the £355 million Castle Street scheme, which was approved by the Department for Transport last year and will create a much better connection between the city centre and the retail and docks area. This will support the city’s economic growth, improving journeys to and from the centre, and will help the Port of Hull to thrive.
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said:
“It’s great to see this bridge opening up so that people can get around the city more easily. It also improves safety for cyclists and pedestrians by providing an alternative route across the A63.
“This is all part of our multi-million pound investment into the Castle Street scheme which will transform the city, reconnecting the areas north and south of the A63 and improving traffic flow to the port, providing a real boost to the local economy as we build back better.”
The bridge is a sight to behold. From its lowest point it stands at 47 metres tall – two metres higher than Hull Minster. It’s 60 metres long and weighs in at 150 tonnes.
Emma Hardy MP said:
“I am thrilled and delighted to see the grand opening of Murdoch’s Connection. This bridge will now allow the safe passage of cyclists and pedestrians onto the marina and the city and will help to ease congestion on our roads.
“It has been a real journey over the years and I wish to thank all the agencies that helped in getting this project completed, including all the schools and school children who took part in the naming competition. I am sure Dr Mary Murdoch, Hull’s first female GP would be immensely proud knowing that her name lives on in Hull helping to inspire the next generation of great women from our great city.”
Finishing work at the site took place against the backdrop of Covid-19, in a safe and socially-distanced manner. All Highways England sites have strict safeguarding measures, in line with Public Health England guidance, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and none of the sites are open to the public.
Now the public’s patience has been rewarded and they can start using the bridge, on which 1,700m cubic metres of concrete was used in the construction, equating to two thirds of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Councillor Daren Hale, deputy leader of Hull City Council, said: “The local authority has worked hard with its partners over a number of years to help bring this scheme to fruition, and we hope that residents and visitors alike will enjoy the connection it brings between our wonderful waterfront to the heart of the city.
“This bridge will be an iconic piece of infrastructure which welcomes people to Hull, and naming the bridge after Hull’s first female GP is a testament to what our residents value in this city.”
Murdoch’s Connection was part funded with a £4m contribution from the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership’s local growth fund programme, secured through its growth deals with Government and part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.
Stephen Parnaby OBE, Chair of the Humber LEP, said: “We’re delighted to see Murdoch’s Connection open to the public – a striking development in the heart of the city which will benefit businesses in the area and the community who live, work and visit this area of Hull.
“The construction of the bridge, which we were please to support through the Local Growth Fund, will help improve traffic along the A63, while making it easier for pedestrians to navigate the busy crossing and encourage visitors to the city centre to visit the Marina and Fruit Market area.”
Check out the project’s incredible journey in this time lapse video: https://youtu.be/E15YFUey88k