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11 ways civil engineering projects have honoured Queen Elizabeth II

01 June 2022

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which marks 70 years since her coronation, we’re taking a look at different infrastructure named after Her Majesty.

11 ways civil engineering projects have honoured Queen Elizabeth II
Great Western Railways' 800003 train was named by Her Majesty on 13 June 2017. Image credit: GWR

This weekend (2-5 June 2022) celebrates the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, honouring her 70 years as the UK’s ruling monarch.

To mark the occasion, we’ve found 11 ways in which the civil engineering profession has paid homage to Her Majesty, specifically by naming projects after her.

1. Railways

Elizabeth line sign
The Elizabeth line crosses London from east to west. Image credit: Alex Y/Shutterstock

It’s only fitting to start with the Elizabeth line, which opened on 10 stations last week (24 March 2022).

Though we had to wait a few extra years, the line conveniently opened on the year of the Platinum Jubilee.

Originally called Crossrail, the railway that runs beneath London was renamed as the Elizabeth line in February 2017 to honour Her Majesty.

Similarly, the Jubilee Line, opened by Prince Charles, was given its name to mark the 25th anniversary of the English Queen’s reign.

2. Roads and motorways

You’ll find your fair share of roads named after the Queen, several gaining their name during her Silver Jubilee, when she celebrated 25 years on the throne.

Roads named after Her Majesty can be found in Hampshire, Lincolnshire, Wiltshire and County Fermanagh in the UK, while New South Wales in Australia honours the monarch with Queen Elizabeth Drive.

You’ll find Elizabeth Avenues in Oxfordshire, Surrey, and Hertfordshire, and Elizabeth II Streets in Canada, Ghana, Poland and Ethiopia. The street in Ethiopia was named after the Queen to commemorate her visit in 1965.

For faster travel, Queen Elizabeth II Drive in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Queen Elizabeth II Highway between Calgary and Edmonton in Canada are two options for Her Majesty-themed motorways.

3. Bridges

QE2 bridge in London
The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge on the Dartford Crossing is commonly referred to as the QE2 bridge. Image credit: s.m.u.d.g.e/Shutterstock

One of the most well-known bridges named after the Queen is part of the Dartford Crossing.

It’s a major road crossing of the river Thames in London, carrying the A282 road between Kent and Essex in England.

Queen Elizabeth II Bridge is cable-stayed and was opened by Her Majesty on 30 October 1991.

Another bridge by the same name carries the Tyne and Wear metro between Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead over the River Tyne in North East England.

Other bridges include the one in Windsor, which also crosses the river Thames, and another in Belfast that crosses the river Lagan in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

4. Footpaths

There are promenades all over the world that are named after Queen Elizabeth II. From Richmond in London to Queen Elizabeth Terrace in Canberra, Australia.

Both are next to bodies of water, the river Thames and Lake Burley Griffin, respectively.

Another notable footpath is Queen Elizabeth II Walk in Singapore, first created to commemorate the Queen’s coronation.

Adjacent to Singapore River on its northern bank, it first opened to the public on 30 May 1953.

The promenade was a popular hangout for people to enjoy the view, but it has since been blocked by the Esplanade Bridge and the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.

5. Tunnel boring machine (TBM)

While not projects themselves, TBMs are essential at some rather enormous civil engineering endeavors, such as HS2 and Crossrail.

At the Buckinghamshire site of HS2 works, the 19-tonne machine that helped them dig tunnels was named Lizzie after Her Majesty the Queen. The name was chosen by students from a nearby school.

Lizzie was used to dig a 300m long drainage channel close to South Heath.

Meanwhile, Crossrail had two TBMs named after royalty, one for Queen Victoria and one for Queen Elizabeth II. They arrived at London’s Docklands in the summer of 2012.

Between the two of them, they dug 8.3km of new rail tunnels between the Limmo Peninsula (near Canning Town) and Farringdon.

6. Airport terminal

After reopening in 2014, Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport was renamed The Queen’s Terminal.

Before closing for redevelopment in 2009, it was known as the Europa building. Until then, 29 airlines operated from the terminal, carrying 8.5 million passengers per year.

Now, T2 has the capacity to transport more than 18.5 million travelers on domestic and international flights.

7. Elizabeth Tower

View of Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben
The Elizabeth Tower was renamed in 2012 to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Image credit: lunamarina/Shutterstock

The story of the Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben is a lengthy one.

The first clock tower is believed to have been built on the site of Elizabeth Tower in the 1290s, but there’s no official record of it.

Jumping forward to 1859, the Great Clock started ticking on 31 May and the Great Bell’s strikes were heard a little over a month later, on 11 July.

But it wasn’t until 2012 that the Clock Tower was renamed the Elizabeth Tower. It got its new title to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, which marked 60 years of her reign.

The tower was recently unveiled after an £80 billion conservation project.

8. Trains

Queen Elizabeth II next to GWR train with same name
Her Majesty the Queen standing next to the Queen Elizabeth II GWR train. Image credit: GWR

The 800003 train was named by Her Majesty on 13 June 2017 to mark the 175th anniversary of Queen Victoria becoming the first monarch to travel by train.

Officially named the Queen Elizabeth II / Queen Victoria train, the vehicle recreated a historic journey from Slough to London Paddington with the Queen and her husband Prince Phillip on board.

The coins on the train even carry the official flag of the Royal Family (the Royal Standard) to signify the presence of the Queen.

9. Stadiums

View of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Thousands of people flocked to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park during the 2012 London Olympics. Image credit: Abdul_Shakoor/Shutterstock

Also celebrating an anniversary this year, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London was in the spotlight during the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It’s still a destination for sport, entertainment, culture, education and leisure.

Similarly, the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong is used for sporting events, concerts, recreation and culture. It sits 3,500 people.

It was built in honour of the Queen’s first visit to Hong Kong in 1975, opening five years later.

10. Courts of law

The Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law are in Brisbane, Australia. Built in 2012, the 19-storey tower is one of the largest court buildings in the country.

The courts were named to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, 60 years after she was crowned.

A functioning court, it’s also open for public tours, as it boasts interior and exterior gardens and an art collection.

It also features blinds controlled by a computerised solar clock system used to manage heat and glare.

11. Health Science Centre

The Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre is in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

More than 700 physicians, 7,000 staff and 1,200 volunteers work at the 10-building site that was named after the Queen in 1995.

A part of the centre is funded by the QEII Foundation, which helps fund new technology, medical research, innovation and professional education.

Fun fact:

Did you know that members of the Royal Family are patrons of ICE?

They include:

  • The Prince of Wales, Honorary Fellow
  • The Princess Royal, Honorary Fellow
  • The Duke of Gloucester, Honorary Fellow
  • Ana Bottle, digital content editor at ICE