It is the largest brick structure in the United Kingdom and was designed by George Watson Buck for the Manchester and Birmingham Railway and completed in 1840. The viaduct is 33.85 metres (111.1 ft) high. At the time of its construction it was the largest viaduct in the world, and it represents a major feat of Victorian engineering and a key pioneering structure of the railway age. It is currently a Grade II* listed structure, and remains one of the world's biggest brick structures.
The M60 motorway passes through two of the viaduct's arches between Junction 1 (A5145 road) and Junction 27 (Portwood Roundabout).
The 27 arch viaduct took 21 months to build and cost £70,000; 11,000,000 bricks were used in its construction. It was officially opened on 4 June 1840. In common with Stockport railway station, the viaduct was also historically referred to as Edgeley Viaduct. At the peak of the work, 600 workers were employed in shifts – working day and night – to complete the structure. It was entirely built of layer upon layer of common brick. The engine house of the 1831 Wear Mill lay on the path of the viaduct- so the viaduct was built over it. The viaduct opened in 1842 with services running to Crewe, allowing passengers from Stockport to reach London.
The first section of the Manchester & Birmingham line to be completed ran from a temporary station in Manchester, at Travis Street, to a temporary station at Heaton Norris, on the Lancashire side of the Stockport viaduct. Opened for traffic on 4 June 1840, this short line was an immediate success, carrying nearly 2,000 passengers a day during the second half of 1840. Two years later, on 10 May 1842, train services were extended from Heaton Norris to Sandbach and the permanent Manchester station in Store Street was opened.