18 Nov 04
Awards honour historic bridge restoration
Successful repair and restoration projects are celebrated in the Institution of Civil Engineers' annual Historic Bridge & Infrastructure Awards, announced today. 'The awards are important because they recognise and encourage excellence and innovation in historic civil engineering," said HBIA chairman Roland Paxton.
Three bridges and an aqueduct were among the five award winners:
* Whorlton Suspension Bridge restoration, near Barnard Castle, County Durham
This bridge over the river Tees was built in 1830 and is still supported by the original wrought-iron chains. It was damaged by gales in the 1970s, and by 2003 many of the deck timbers were loose and badly worn. Judges' comments: "Superb. Alterations from the original design have been minimal."
* Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Trevor Basin refurbishment, near Llangollen
Thomas Telford's iconic aqueduct and the nearby Trevor Basin on the Llangollen Canal attract over 200,000 visitors each year. The aqueduct's 19 spans are carried high above the river Dee on masonry piers, making maintenance and repair difficult and expensive. Consequently, this was the first major refurbishment since the structure was opened in 1805. Judges' comments: "A great preservation scheme ensuring that this revolutionary structure will be safe with a minimum of attention for the next 50 years."
* Hungerford Canal Bridge strengthening and refurbishment, West Berkshire
This brick arch bridge over the Kennet and Avon Canal was built around 1800. In 2001 its load-carrying capacity was assessed by West Berkshire Council as 3t. A feasibility study carried out by Jacobs Babtie concluded that the technique of "retro-reinforcement" of the arch ring was the most advantageous strengthening solution in terms of cost, safety, traffic disruption, and inconvenience caused to nearby residents. Judges' comments: "The concept is a clear innovation. Strengthening created a bridge capable of carrying unrestricted traffic."
* Myton on Swale Bridge refurbishment, near Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire
This cast-iron and masonry arch structure was built in 1868 for Henry Miles Stapylton to the design of Thomas Page, and now carries a well-used bridleway over the river Swale. In 1998 the bridge, still privately owned, was closed on safety grounds. Residents of Myton village and representatives of other interested groups formed "The Friends of Myton Bridge" to raise funds and instigate its refurbishment. North Yorkshire County Council took over the bridge and underwrote the costs.
Judges' comments: "Attention to detail is excellent. Many local people were involved in supporting the rescue and conservation of this attractive bridge."
The fifth award went to the Waterloo train shed roof refurbishment in London. Special recognition was also given to another bridge project, the operation to salvage a previously unrecognised Brunel structure in Paddington, London. The intention is to reconstruct the bridge at a suitable site in time for the 200th anniversary of Brunel's birth in 2006.
The awards were launched in 1998 to recognise and encourage excellence and innovation in civil engineering conservation across England and Wales.
Nominated projects must involve the structural maintenance, strengthening, restoration or conservation of a structure more than 30 years old. Entry is open to schemes involving bridges, aqueduct and other civil engineering structures pertaining to transport.