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09 October 2008

Mott MacDonald and partners celebrate civil engineering success at National Rail Awards

Mott MacDonald and project partners May Gurney and Network Rail are celebrating after the structural refurbishment of Newcastle upon Tyne’s High Level Bridge won the project team a prestigious National Rail Award.

The £42 million refurbishment of Newcastle’s historic High Level Bridge received the Civil Engineering Achievement of the Year accolade at the rail industry’s premier awards.

The project, led by contractor May Gurney for client Network Rail, with Mott MacDonald providing design engineer services, saw the Grade I-listed bridge undergo an eight-year programme of restoration to return it to its former glory.

The judges praised the project for strong teamwork, innovation and were particularly impressed by the ‘meticulous planning and execution which ensured that the rail services were never disrupted while the whole bridge was cloaked in 1,600 tonnes of scaffolding’.

Mott MacDonald’s Project Director, Tony Wilkins commented, “The High Level Bridge is a landmark structure right in the heart of Newcastle. Before it closed for refurbishment it carried over 8000 vehicles a day, so the project has been of immense public interest. To see it so beautifully restored and operational again was a reward in itself, but winning the Civil Engineering Achievement of the Year award is just fantastic.”

John Wilkinson, Managing Director of Project and Rail Engineering Services at May Gurney said, “We are delighted that the project team has been recognised and rewarded for the hard work that took place on this challenging project. The National Rail Awards are widely regarded as the Oscars of the industry and this win is a tribute to the dedication, professionalism and commitment demonstrated by all those involved.”

The National Rail Awards are in their 9th year and were held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London on Thursday 18 September 2008.


Notes for editors

1, Mott MacDonald’s services on the project included inspection, assessment and full scale load testing of the bridge, research and development into the fatigue performance of cast iron, conservation engineering and site supervision, and design of numerous novel strengthening solutions including the use of FRP.

2, Newcastle High Level Bridge was designed and built in the nineteenth century by engineering pioneers Robert Stephenson and Thomas Harrison to take both road and rail traffic. It is almost 160 years old.

3, During the project 33 coats of paint were stripped from the bridge before Mott MacDonald’s project team could assess the full extent of its condition. More than 57,000 m2 of metalwork was inspected and 610 tonnes of new steel and 252 tonnes of new timber have been used. To complete the project, over 75,000 litres of paint were used to return the bridge to its original colour.

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