Forth Road Bridge repair scoops top engineering award

The Forth Road Bridge, Edinburgh, won a national award.

The Forth Road Bridge, Edinburgh, won a national award.

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The repairs carried out on the Forth Road Bridge has been recognised with a 2016 Saltire Society Civil Engineering Award.

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Schematic showing completed truss end link replacement on Forth Road Bridge

Schematic showing completed truss end link replacement on Forth Road Bridge

The ‘remarkable’ repair of Scotland’s longest bridge saw the engineering team granted the award.

Established in 1981, the Awards are a much coveted accolade from the Saltire Society and the Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland, recognising excellence and innovation in civil engineering.

This year’s Awards have been revamped to feature six individual categories to mark 2016 as the Saltire Society’s 80th anniversary and include a new award for the project judged to have made the greatest contribution to Scotland.

The Forth Road Bridge: Truss End Links Repair won the Greatest Contribution to Scotland Award praised by the judges for being “a remarkable engineering achievement carried out during a period of adverse weather conditions, whilst ensuring public safety and the structural integrity of the bridge.”

The identification of fractured steelwork in a ‘truss end link’ of the bridge led to its closure to all traffic on December 3 2015. Thanks to the quick and efficient work of the Contractor and Clients engineering teams, the Forth Road Bridge was able to reopen to all vehicles except HGVs on December 23. By repairing the bridge ahead of schedule and under extreme media, political and public scrutiny, the lives of tens of thousands of commuters and travellers, who were forced onto heavily crowded trains, relief buses and alternative roads in the interim, were able to return to normal after only 20 days of disruption.

The infrastructure award went to the A82 Pulpit Rock Realignment on the banks of Loch Lomond. Projects that received commendations include the Lamington Viaduct on the River Clyde, the Gourock Pier Redevelopment, Ngau Tam Mei to Tai Kong Po tunnels in China, and the Elgin Flood Alleviation Scheme.

Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands said:

“The Saltire Society Awards are widely regarded as the most respected of the civil engineering industry and this is a prestigious and well-deserved accolade.

“It is fitting that the unsung heroes responsible for developing such an innovative and effective solution against a challenging deadline and under the watchful eye of a nation have been recognised for their efforts.

“Transport Scotland were delighted to play a role in getting the bridge reopened in such a relatively short space of time. The collective response to this unforeseen event was remarkable and reinforced Scotland’s solid reputation for engineering excellence.”

Convenor of the judging panel and former Chair of ICE Scotland, Gordon Pomphrey, said:

“The Forth Road Bridge project demonstrated a remarkable engineering achievement carried out during a period of adverse weather conditions, whilst ensuring public safety and the structural integrity of the bridge. The expertise and dedication shown by the site team enabled completion ahead of programme, and this alleviated the prolonged economic, social and environmental impacts associated with diverting over 70,000 vehicles 33 miles each day.”