I read with interest the letters in recent issues (NCE 27 April) debating whether the ICE or RIBA should organise bridge design competitions and, whilst I understand both arguments, I would request that either organisation appoint a bridge engineer to the judging panel to specifically judge the suitability of the bridge for maintenance and inspection.
I am a principal engineer responsible for a mixture of public and private bridge stock which includes special and landmark structures. By definition bridges are difficult to access and the need to undertake works is vital for long term asset management, as is the correct choice of materials for whole life costing at the outset of the project.
These elements are not always fully appreciated by designers but should play a critical role in selecting a bridge which will reflect the owners' need for an important and long lasting asset.
S. Monaghan (M), Mandeville, Main Road, St. Pauls Cray, Kent, BR5 3HE