Top honours for engineering excellence

A new footbridge in Aylesbury – the Bourg Walk – has been named Overall Winner at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Engineering Excellence Awards 2009, the highest honour for civil engineering excellence in the Thames Valley region.

The three award categories included Large Projects, Small Projects (under £5 million) and an Environmental category. All entries were required to have been substantially completed in the last twelve months. The awards were presented by Scott Steedman, vice president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, at the ICE Thames Valley Summer Ball in Egham.

Howard Larkin, chair of the ICE’s judging panel, said: “The recipients of the ICE Engineering Excellence Awards 2009 have excelled in delivering projects which combine a commitment to innovation, creativity and social value with a culture of safety and sustainability. I congratulate them all for demonstrating the important contribution that civil engineers make to the Thames Valley.”

Judgements on engineering excellence were based on criteria such as creativity and innovation, sustainability and environmental sensitivity and benefits to the client and wider public.

The ICE Engineering Excellence Awards 2009 recipients are:

A new footbridge in Aylesbury – the Bourg Walk – was named both Overall Winner 2009 and recipient of the Large Project Award (£5 million and above). The Bourg Walk improves pedestrian and cyclist access from the South of Aylesbury to the town centre, reducing congestion, improving the health of residents and facilitating future growth. Extensive liaison with local communities and stakeholders ensured minimal disruption during construction and the footbridge’s elegant structure – a complex combination of concrete, steel and glass – was highlighted for its contribution to the aesthetics of the town centre.

Lakeside Energy from Waste Plant, Colnbrook, was Highly Commended within the Large Project Category for its use of international multi-disciplinary teams of engineers who together employed advanced design and construction methods to deliver a visually appealing building which should result in maximum energy generation from waste incineration. Judges noted also the difficult environmental and health and safety factors which impacted the demolition and construction process, especially given the site’s proximity to Heathrow Airport.

The Emms Centre at Cranleigh School, Surrey, was Highly Commended within the Large Project Category. Successfully managing the health and safety concerns of construction within the confines of a working school, this new building incorporated bold engineering solutions to create a new focal centre and inspirational communal space for students. This new building was also recognised by the judges for its sustainability, incorporating two small wind turbines and rainwater harvesting.  

The Mill Lane Footbridge Replacement Scheme, Bracknell, received the Small Project Award (under £5 million) and was highlighted by judges as an example of how civil engineering design and construction can provide sustainable and innovative solutions that minimise cost and are both practical and aesthetically pleasing. The new 32.5m central parabolic steel arch suspends a 3.0m wide steel deck, providing cyclists and pedestrians with a safe route across the A3095 linking Bracknell with Crowthrone and Camberley.

The improved transport links to the Pools in the Park Leisure Centre, Richmond upon Thames, were Highly Commended within the Small Project Category. Attention to detail and extensive liaison with all stakeholders ensured that any solution met the requirements of all involved. Judges highlighted the environmental challenges which had to be overcome as part of the scheme and praised the level of communication with all customers.

The River Lambourn Restoration, Newbury, received the Environmental Award. This project’s aim was to restore the River Lambourn, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), to that of chalk stream with fast flowing water over a clean river bottom. The judges were particularly taken with the care shown during construction to prevent damage to adjacent lime trees, the subject of Tree Preservation Orders. They were also impressed by the careful use of soft engineering solutions that are sympathetic to the natural environment and will require minimal future maintenance.

Grafton Lock Refurbishment, Lechlade, West Oxfordshire, was Highly Commended within the Environmental Category. Originally built in 1896, the lock at Grafton was in need of repair, and the project’s scope extended to include a new canoe portage and bank protection work. Judges were impressed with the careful consideration given to local wildlife, with an otter and 5000 fish of various species protected during the works. The judges were also pleased to note the use of local labour for the lock woodwork and that the tropical wood needed was acquired from a sustainable source

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