Awards success for North East engineering projects

Region’s top engineering projects scoop awards at ICE’s Robert Stephenson Awards.

North East Awards: projects that made a difference to people
North East Awards: projects that made a difference to people's lives - and an ICE 200 special project award
The annual ICE Robert Stephenson Awards were held at the Majestic Hotel, Harrogate, where guest of honour, ICE President Professor Lord Robert Mair presented the awards during a two day visit to the region.

ICE 200 Special Project Award

Northern Spire, delivered by by Farrans.
Victor Buyck for Sunderland City Council was presented with the ICE 200 Special Project Award, which recognises engineering excellence in North East infrastructure projects.

Northern Spire is a landmark bridge dominating Sunderland’s skyline and central to a new strategic road linking the A19 to Sunderland city centre and Port of Sunderland. The bridge is already creating economic growth and development opportunities by significantly improving connectivity locally and across the region.

The innovative project was nominated for the award for raising the profile of civil engineering.
The 100m A-frame pylon was transported by sea and river to site before being raised into position during a carefully orchestrated two day operation. The 330m deck was built alongside and launched across the river.

The judging panel said the nomination impressed them so much they created the special award to celebrate both this scheme and the 200th year anniversary of the ICE. “This project has captured the public interest both in the immediate area and nationally. The scale, complexity and design of this scheme has brought the industry of civil engineering, in many of its guises, to the public’s attention. Opening up a new area to investment and enhancing the lives of many now and in the future,” they said.

Prof Mair said: “The Northern Spire is impressive in every aspect, from its design to its construction, and the whole team should be very proud of what they have already achieved.”   

Large Project Award

Blyth Offshore Demonstrator Windfarm Project, delivered by BAM Nuttall for EDF Energy Renewables.

This used several innovative techniques and methods of construction to produce five ground-breaking gravity-base foundations. The pioneering design is the first time the specialist ‘float and submerge’ method has been successfully used on an offshore windfarm.

The judges were impressed with the consideration of the life cycle of the construction elements, where the bases can be re-floated and recycled on land as part of the decommissioning process. Their comments included: “A technically innovative project that could be a game changer for offshore wind energy production, being the first project of this type in British waters.”

Prof Mair added: “The Blyth Offshore Demonstrator Windfarm Project has significantly improved the process of landing windfarm foundations and as green energy is an important area of growth in this country a scheme that makes construction more productive can only be a good thing.”

Medium Project Award

Castle Eden Dene Scheme, delivered by Mott MacDonald Bentley for Northumbrian Water.

This outfall replacement scheme is located within a largely inaccessible SSI site in Castle Eden Dene, Peterlee. The site has a history of landslips which have undermined and compromised the existing outfall, which is no longer safe.

The scheme provides a robust trenchless solution with environmental benefits including new habitat creation, long-term stability and safer access.

Prof Mair said: “The Castle Eden Dene project was a great example of collaborative working at its best. All of the stakeholders in the project carried out their roles effectively which resulted in a scheme worthy of praise.”

Small Project

Cobalt Cycle Scheme, cycling and walking improvement project delivered by Capita for North Tyneside Council.

Innovative, high quality infrastructure which supports sustainable and active travel in one of the UK’s largest commercial business parks.
Implemented to significantly improve and enhance sustainable accessibility to the business park through provision of high quality, safe cycling and walking links between Cobalt and local residential areas, the scheme provides a real viable alternative choice of travel to work for local residents and aims to promote a shift away from reliance on private cars.

The judging panel said the project was relatively unusual in the UK, stepping away from the norm, innovative and helping lead the way in the advancement of modal shift in this country.

Prof Mair added: “The Cobalt Cycling Scheme is a perfect example of civil engineers using their expertise to improve the local community, by making it possible for people to cycle to work, in a high traffic area – with the biggest impact on the lives of those it benefits.”

Other awards

Seymour Civil Engineering: The Mike Gardiner Cup

Jo Spencer: Volunteer of the Year Award presented to Graduates and Students Chair

Certificates of Commendation

Teesport No.1 Quay Reconstruction and Berth Deepening Project (PD Ports, Royal HaskoningDHV, McLaughlin and Harvey)

Pelaw Wood Sewer (Northumbrian Water, Mott MacDonald Bentley)

Galliford Try Infrastructure (South Tyneside Council, AECOM)