Major development and refurbishment projects ranging from a colliery reclamation scheme to preserving a rural cottage are among the nominations in the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) West Midlands Awards.
The annual awards showcase the best of civil engineering excellence in the region and take place on Wednesday at the ICC.
A total of 20 projects have been nominated, including the £2.5 million highway project to enable Tesco Extra in Walsall and the £12.7 million restoration of Droitwich’s canals.
Alastair Templeton, ICE West Midlands chairman, said: “Every single day, civil engineers in the West Midlands are working to overcome challenges from water supply to transport access, usually with little or no recognition.
“The work done by civil engineers is essential for society to function and this is our opportunity to celebrate the work done by our members with both the public and private sectors.
“The shortlist features everything from major heritage projects to smaller, but no less important and challenging, work to protect individual properties from flooding risk. “Each scenario poses unique challenges for society and, thanks to the skills and determination of civil engineers, we are able to overcome them.
“These projects involve highly skilled teams of engineers of various disciplines in order to deliver them successfully.
“Each of the 20 projects nominated demonstrate in different ways the excellence we have in the West Midlands in civil engineering.”
Prizes will be presented in categories recognising innovation, sustainability, heritage, construction, partnership working and communication – in addition to an overall winner.
1. A4040 Highway Realignment – Spenhill Regeneration working with Arup, Cube Management, Bowmer & Birkland (East Midlands), Fitzgerald Contractors and Birmingham City Council
As a result of the Swan Centre regeneration scheme in Yardley, it has been necessary to realign the A4040 Church Road.
The new 500 metre long dual carriageway was constructed as part of the shopping centre redevelopment and will eventually facilitate the creation of around 650 jobs.
The works were completed in October 2011 and feature an innovative use of post-consumer recycled PVC geocellular storage tanks and hydro-break vortex flow control devices to create a sustainable urban drainage system.
The scheme provides significant improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.
It also offers vehicle site accessibility and the operation of Birmingham’s strategic road network.
2. AGS Data Management Committee
Association of Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) Investigation of ground conditions at any development site is key to the sustainable, safe and economic design of foundations, roads, rail and infrastructure projects.
Specialists who obtain and assemble such data provide printed reports but designers use different software for which data-entry is necessary.
In 1991, the AGS recognised the need for direct digital data transfer. Following a conference in Birmingham, a committee was formed in the West Midlands which produced the AGS Data Transfer Format.
This has been used on projects such as the M6 Toll, Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Olympic sites and overseas.
The dedicated, enthusiastic committee is a world leader and continues to develop the format to remain at the forefront of international developments, saving time and money and ensuring optimum use of this valuable data.
3. Chasewater Reservoir Remedial Works – Staffordshire County Council working with URS and Galliford Try
In order to mitigate internal erosion within the eastern embankment of the reservoir near Lichfield, the Chasewater Reservoir project was undertaken on safety grounds due to fears of leaks and flooding.
Started by Lichfield District Council, the project was continued by Staffordshire County Council in May 2011 and URS, the council’s engineers, to work on the 200-year-old reservoir. As part of the work, the reservoir was drained and the drawdown culvert was located and inspected for the first time in 200 years.
The project has demonstrated a partnership culture between all parties which was considered essential when dealing with such a complex and historical structure which is a major Midlands asset. It is expected the reservoir will be fully restocked by next year.
4. Connect2Kenilworth Footbridge – Warwickshire County Council with Currall Lewis & Martin (Construction)
Sustrans is currently delivering a national project to extend the National Cycle Network into the heart of thousands of communities across the UK.
As part of the project, Warwickshire County Council secured funding to improve and update a section of disused railway line connecting the Kenilworth Greenway, the University of Warwick and Kenilworth town centre.
Parts of the route were previously improved by Warwickshire County Council, but the new improvement works provided an essential new traffic free route over the A429. The bridge has been well received and it is hoped that when the new section of the route is complete to the University of Warwick, it will provide an excellent link for students from Kenilworth to the university.
5. Dawley & Mainslee Regeneration – Telford & Wrekin Council with Birse Civils
This project saw the sustainable redevelopment of a colliery site for a new school, sports pitches and community facilities. Significant efforts were focused on the environmental impact with no material sent to landfill, a saving of £1.3 million due to early 3D modeling, a reduction of 22 per cent in carbon emissions than comparable projects and spoil re-engineered.
Furthermore, asbestos impacted spoil was managed Japanese Knotweed treated.
Dust was reduced by modifying the dumper exhausts with fitted diffuser plates to avoid constant dust plumes and lagoons created to harvest rainwater which was recycled for dampening down dust.
6. Demolition of G A Transport, Demolition, Munitions Clearance and Recycling – Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council with Coleman and Company
The demolition and clearance of the former G A Transport site in Tipton developed from a straightforward project into a high-risk, complex and challenging job.
The works comprised high-level asbestos insulation board removal, superstructure demolition, removal of over 200 pieces of ordnance, treatment of two mineshafts, processing of arisings to specification and storage for subsequent reuse in site development.
Resource management and flexibility were critical in achieving cost minimalisation and a works completion deadline.
The project was delivered safely, without major incident, on time and within budget.
7. Droitwich Canals Restoration – British Waterways with Wychavon District Council, Worcestershire County Council, The Waterways Trust and Droitwich Canal Trust
The opening of Droitwich Canals in July 2011 marked the end of a 38-year drive to restore these two lost canals with work starting in spring 2008 after a £12.7 million fundraising campaign. The vision was to create a linear park centred on the restored Droitwich Canals which will seek to conserve and enhance the natural and built environment and provide a range of opportunitiesfor local people and visitors, generating economic benefit and contributing to the well-being of the people of Worcestershire.
Environment Minister Caroline Spelman said of the project: “I pay tribute to everyone involved in this wonderful restoration. Reconnecting and reopening the two canals is a great engineering achievement.”
8. Foxbank, Bewdley Slope Stabilisation – Geotechnics Ltd with P & S Consulting Engineers and WM Longreach
Following rain storms in Worcestershire, movement occurred in retaining walls and steep garden slopes rising above Foxbank, a house on the busy Cleobury Road in Bewdley.
Power supply poles in the garden tilted and foul sewerage pipes were fractured with extremely dangerous and unpleasant consequences.
The site was small but access problems were significant, constraining both site investigation and remedial works. An outline design involving drainage, reinforced soil and proprietary facing blocks devised to ensure long-term stability, flexible layouts, simple maintenance and an aesthetically pleasing result. Following consultation by Geotechnics Ltd and detailed design by P & S Consulting, WM Longreach devised an innovative construction sequence using their specialist plant, meaning work was completed on time and within budget.
9. Gloucestershire Security of Supply (GSOS) – Severn Trent Water with Morgan Sindall and Grontmij
Flooding in July 2007 crippled Severn Trent Water’s Mythe water treatment works leaving 350,000 customers without mains drinking water for up to 17 days.
Severn Trent committed to provide greater security of supply for its customers in Cheltenham and Gloucester.
A new water main enables the Mythe water treatment works to be bypassed with an alternative supply from Strensham in South Worcestershire.
Work was delivered by Morgan Sindall with Severn Trent Water and scheme designers Grontmij, with 17.3 km of 600mm diameter welded steel pipes installed including major crossings of the M5, Avon and main line railway. Work started in 2010 and achieved regulatory completion in 2011.