Wakefield has a viaduct. It is a very long viaduct that runs from the River Calder to the south of the city, right into it’s center at Westgate Station.

It is known locally at the 99 arches. A conversation with Kevin Trickett, president of Wakefield Civic Society, inspired me to find out how many archways there actually are. A quick search resulted in a number of conflicting answers. So I thought the best way for me to find out how many archways there are is to go and count them.

And what better way to record your findings than to draw them.

It didn’t turn out to be that simple. The viaduct runs over roads, through industrial parks, round the backs of garages, over allotments and fields. There are a few places where you can get a good look at a large span but not as many as I’d hoped. There is a good stretch, from archway 54 to 16, where you can walk underneath it!

By piecing together photographs, sketches and maps I believe I have the answer, though as is often the case this depends on what the question is?

How many archways are there?

How many continuous archways are there?

How many brick archways are there?

How many spans are there? (do we count bridges that are not archways?)

Art may not be able to give you the truth but it can help you look at it.

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