Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon presented the inaugural ICE People’s Choice trophy to Transport Scotland and Amey, at a ceremony at One Great George Street in January.
The award recognised the Forth Road Bridge reopening in December 2015 as the public’s choice for greatest civil engineering achievement of the year.
The Bridge was one of 12 nominations from across the UK chosen for improving lives. Other entries included station improvements in Birmingham and Manchester, a 21st Century sewer network for London and the Wallasea Island flood protection and wetland habitat which uses waste from London’s Crossrail tunnels.
The Forth Road Bridge carries 70,000 vehicles each day and is a vital connection for commuters into Edinburgh and between central and North and East Scotland. Its closure in December 2015 led to a 53km diversion for motorists.
Civil engineers worked around the clock to repair the fractured truss-end link which caused the closure (New Civil Engineer, December 2016). Their expertise and dedication enabled the bridge to reopen to traffic ahead of schedule and in time for Christmas.
Social media kept public and politicians informed and engineers became heroes as images of workers suspended over 50m above the water in wintry weather went viral online.
Sturgeon, said: “This prestigious award is significant in that it was voted for by the public and saw off competition from the rest of the UK. The strength of feeling in terms of appreciation, community spirit and respect for those who fixed the bridge is clear for all to see.
“It is very fitting that the unsung heroes responsible for producing such an innovative solution under intense pressure have been recognised for their efforts. They worked tirelessly in extremely challenging weather conditions to repair and reopen the bridge. The collective response to this unforeseen event was remarkable and reinforced Scotland’s solid reputation for engineering excellence.”