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John Laing M1 builder Douglas Elbourne dies aged 90

General manager of the first section of the M1 motorway John Laing has died aged 90.

Douglas Stanley Elbourne was born 30 October 1918 in London as the youngest of five sons born to Edward Tregaskiss Elbourne and Emily Grace Bell.

He was educated at University College, London, and qualified as a chartered engineer and became a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Fellow of the Institute of Highways & Transportation.

His entire working life was spent in the service of John Laing, who he joined in 1937 as a quantity surveyor.

In 1939 he joined the Royal Engineers, serving with them in the UK, Egypt, Iraq, India, Burma and finally Germany building strategic highways, many roads and bridges. His final rank when leaving was Captain.

In 1946 he rejoined Laing where he was appointed general manager of open cast coal mines. Responsible for 5-8 sites.

He occupied various posts at Laing until in 1958 he was appointed general manager of a section of the M1 motorway. Then in 1959 he became responsible for projects including the M6, M2, Wheatley-by-pass, the Bridge over the River Severn, Wraysbury Reservoir, new runways for Abbotsinch Airport in Glasgow and De Havilland Aircraft Co. Hatfield.

In 1966 he was appointed project manager of the Westway extension, an elevated dual three lane motorway into London. From 1969 to 1974 he was director of highway construction in the civil engineering division. His responsibility included all of the company’s highway contracts (the M6, M5, M27, A10 Hoddesdon bypass and M25 (Dartford-Swanley section).

In 1974 he was promoted to divisional director of special projects in the engineering division, responsible for evaluation and market research for new activities for the company. By the time he retired from Laing in June 1981 he was divisional director in the civil engineering division.

He died on 27 April

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