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ICE past president John Baxter dies

ICE News

ICE past president and founding partner of consultant Maunsell, John Baxter, has died aged 86.

As a professional engineer Baxter's major achievement was the record breaking concrete arch - Gladsville Bridge near Sydney, Australia. Its 328m clear span is thought to be unrivalled 39 years after it was completed.

Baxter also masterminded the controversial Westway elevated dual carriageway that soars above London rooftops from Shepherds Bush to Marylebone.

As well as being a brave piece of transport planning it helped pioneer the use of post-tensioned, precast segmental construction.

'As an engineer he showed tremendous initiative and confidence, ' said Maunsell senior partner David Hook.

'And as a managing partner of Maunsell he showed great trust in his staff. His management technique was very low key - he achieved results by giving you a lot of freedom, not by driving things along.'

Baxter is most recognised for the index that bears his name and allows construction prices to be adjusted according to inflation. The 'Baxter indices' are still in use.

Baxter learned the ropes professionally on concrete structures for the Trussed Concrete Steel Company and on chemical factories for oil giant Shell. Here he met Guy Maunsell, and joined him at Maunsell Posford & Pavry.

Baxter became one of four founding partners in Maunsell's new firm in 1955. In his 25 years at the helm, Baxter saw the firm grow from a 45-strong UK practice to an international force of over 2,000.

He presided over the ICE in 1976-77.

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