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King’s Cross Espérance Bridge Installation

Camden, Greater London

Principal Contractor:   Galldris
Client:   Argent
Architect:   Moxon Architects Ltd
Structural Engineer:   Arup


Following the restoration and reopening of Coal Drops Yard in 2018, this bridge represents the final step of reinstating the heritage of this part of Kings Cross.

The civil engineering and utility installations associated with the bridge were completed in the months prior to the bridge being lifted in place. Beneficial to this was our long-term partnership with Argent and our extensive knowledge of the Kings Cross estate.

On the North of the bridge, adjacent to the Ghatts Steps, 5No 450mm diameter concrete piles were drilled through the existing brickwork retaining wall to a depth of almost 25m before the new abutment structure could be formed.

On the South of the bridge, the abutment structure was built upon the existing secant piled wall which was installed in 2012 to form the current Goods Way alignment.

It replaces a bridge constructed circa 1821 in the same position on the canal and which was used to transport coal to the Goods Yard. The original bridge was taken down in the 1920s when rail freight went into decline and was no longer needed for transportation purposes.

The project consists of the construction of a 25m steel-framed bridge spanning Regent’s Canal between Granary Square and Goods Way and will link Pancras Square with the shopping and dining district of Coal Drops Yard. This will supplement the existing Somers Town Bridge that was opened to the public on 7th July 2017.

It is hoped that the new bridge will generate more visitors to the Coal Drops Yard area within the Kings Cross Estate. The bridge also brings important fibreoptic connectivity to the new offices and residential within the Kings Cross Development.

Judges’ Comments:
“The bridge is visually striking and well-constructed with innovative engineering.”

The Espérance Bridge is one of the final elements of the Kings Cross development in central London.

The 25m footbridge spans over the Regents Canal to connect the stations and St. Pancras Square to the south with Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard to the north. As part of the original master plan, it strengthens the link between the two halves of the site, encouraging visitors and providing residents with better access to public transport.

The bridge also enlivens the canal corridor, providing a platform to observe Camley Street Natural Park to the west and the Ghat Steps to the east. The Espérance Bridge is the result of a triangle of collaboration between the client, designers and construction team. These close relationships enabled an efficient design and construction process where participants were able to contribute beyond typical expectations.

The resulting bridge demonstrates this attitude to design as a feat of both architecture and engineering. The scheme was further enhanced by specialist input including lighting design, hard and soft landscaping, utility and drainage coordination. All of these elements contributed to a single, cohesive design that already feels completely embedded in its context. The Espérance Bridge plays a larger role than connecting A to B. As a bold contribution to its surroundings, it defines space beyond its edges, serves as a landmark and provides a platform for interaction.

As with any project like this, there was is a lot of planning and permissions that were required from the likes of London Borough of Camden, Transport for London, Canal River Trust, utilities providers etc.

On the day of the bridge installation, Goods Way was closed to facilitate the erection of a mobile crane to install the new pedestrian footbridge, local residents, businesses, and adjacent construction sites were informed well in advance of these works and access for deliveries was maintained where possible. We also had a Traffic diversion in place for the section of Goods Way closed between York Way and Camley Street/Pancras Rd.

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