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Scotland regional focus: Saltire Awards 2009

Last month the annual Saltire Civil Engineering Awards celebrated the year’s finest civil engineering projects in Scotland. Here Joel Geoghegan showcases the winning and shortlisted projects.


Upper Forth Estuary Crossing, Kincardine

Upper Forth Estuary Crossing, Kincardine

Upper Forth Estuary Crossing, Kincardine

Awarded for its achievement in planning, design and construction, the new Upper Forth Estuary crossing was judged to have brought substantial benefits to Kincardine and the surrounding area, while protecting the Firth of Forth’s sensitive ecology.

By reducing traffic flows through Kincardine village to 16% of previous levels the bridge has creating a safer, cleaner and quieter environment than its 1930s built predecessor.

Built between June 2006 and November 2008, the £120M project features the second longest launched bridge in the world. The bridge was launched as a pre-stressed concrete box girder across the Firth to minimise the impact on the nearby protected natural habitat, salt marshes and mud banks.

The 1.2km multi-span bridge is part of a larger development including 3.1km of side roads, 5km of cycleways and footpaths, four other motorway bridges, a grade separated junction and two major roundabouts. The completed bridge weighs more than 32,000t.

The project used recycled materials, utilising waste products from local power stations and the mining industry as backfill.

“Receiving these highly prestigious awards is great recognition for the project team,” says Simon Bourne, head of the design team at Benaim which is now part of Scott Wilson. “Our close working relationship with contractors in the design & build sector and particularly with the Morgan- Vinci JV enabled us to introduc
design innovations that allowed the scheme to be completed safely and quickly and with a lower environmental impact.”

“We are delighted to win this award which is a significant achievement for Morgan Est / Vinci Construction Grands Projets. It is a testament to the focus we have placed on working together at an early stage as teamwork played a key role in the successful delivery of this project”, says Morgan Est/Vinci project director Frank Platt.

Client Transport Scotland
Engineer Jacobs Engineering UK
Designer WA Fairhurst & Partners
Designer Benaim/Scott Wilson
Checker Gifford
Contractor Morgan Est
Contractor Vinci Construction
Grand Projets



Project Category: Commended

Glasgow Harbour offsite highways project

Glasgow Harbour offsite highways project

Glasgow Harbour offsite highways project

This project in a busy area of Glasgow was commended for mitigating disruption to the travelling public. The judges also praised the project’s high quality finish and attention to detail.

This design and construct project focused on the realignment of the Clydeside Expressway in Glasgow alongside the construction of four bridge structures designed to enhance access to present and future developments at the Glasgow Harbour site.

The strategic planning and temporary works, creating extensive traffic diversions in to maintain two lanes of busy traffic in both directions was fundamental in minimising the project’s impact on the busy traffic route during construction.

The project began in September 2005 and was completed on time in May 2008, within its £24M budget, the largest part of the job was the new 62m single span steel bridge over the River Kelvin.

During realignment the Clydeside Expressway was lowered by up to 5m to allow better connections between the three new bridges.

Client Glasgow Harbour Limited
Designer Atkins
Contractor Farrans (Construction)



Project Category: Commended

IFSD Tradeston Bridge

IFDS Tradeston Bridge

IFDS Tradeston Bridge

The imaginative design, development and construction of this bridge were celebrated for enhancing the local environment.

It is hoped that linking Tradeston and Glasgow’s financial district the bridge will encourage investment. The £6M, 106m long bridge, comprises a three span balanced cantilever and double fin shaped superstructure. The deck is a slender 550mm and the structure rests on precast concrete clad pylons sitting on piled foundations driven into bedrock.

The cycle and pedestrian bridge is a major part of a larger £33M development.

Client Glasgow City Council
Design and build contractor Bam Nuttall
Contractor’s designer Halcrow
Specialist steel fabricator RBG
Architect Dissing & Weitling
Funding partners Scottish Enterprise, European Regional Development Fund, Strathclyde European Partnership



Project category: Commended

Dounreay shaft isolation project

Dounreay shaft isolation projec

Dounreay shaft isolation project

This technically demanding project won plaudits for the “planning, initiative, teamwork and skill shown in the successful development and execution of this strategic, complex, project in a hostile and challenging environment.”

The purpose of the project was to isolate a 65m deep shaft on the coast of the Pentland Firth, an area prone to severe weather.

This was undertaken enable radioactive contaminants in the shaft to be removed safely and to seal it from the surrounding ground.

The contractor used advanced grouting technology and hydro-geological mathematical modelling. To ensure success numerous full scale trials were conducted nearby to develop micro fine cement grouts.

A 10m wide, 100m perimeter multi stage grout ring was then constructed to surround the shaft and extended below its base to a depth of 80m, vital in preventing water ingress.

A shoreline reclamation process was also undertaken by using roller compacted concrete to create a suitable working platform.

The project was completed on time and within budget.

Client Dounreay Site Restoration
Engineer Halcrow
Contractor Bam Ritchies



Project category: Commended

M8 Harthill footbridge replacement

M8 Harthill footbridge replacement

M8 Harthill footbridge replacement

Described as visually elegant and carefully detailed, this remarkable project was seen as a benefit to the community and commended for design, skill and construction.

The new £5M bridge featuring a glazed pedestrian walkway and cycle path, with full disabled access, provides a new link between Harthill motorway service station and a new park and ride facility serving Edinburgh and Glasgow, replacing the outdated 1970s original M8 crossing.

The striking 70m span helical truss structure weighing 230t with a 2.5m wide deck incorporates 12 tubular steel members wrapped around the structure. This was fabricated off-site in seven sections weighing between 24t and 33t.

Scott Wilson working with Buro Happold and contractor Raynesway completed the design & build project on time in November 2008.

“It was a thrill to see the main span lifted into place without a hitch,” says Buro Happold associate director Simon Fryer.

The structure was lifted into place in an overnight closure of the M8 between junctions four and five

Client Transport Scotland
Client’s designer Scott Wilson (Scotland)
Contractor Raynesway Construction
Contractor’s designer Buro Happold
Steelwork supplier and erector SH Structures



Project category: Commended

Roseisle Distillery

Roseisle Distillery

Roseisle Distillery

The judges recognised the scheme for “the unique project design, advanced procurement strategy in construction, and the project achieving a sustainable and energy efficient development.”

The new £40M Roseisle distillery combines recognised and innovative new technologies to create an energy efficient development and presents a new model for whisky production.

Reflecting the three major processes of the whisky manufacturing process, mashing, fermentation and distilling, the 3000m2 building is compartmentalised into three distinct spaces and contains 14 traditional copper whisky stills.

Work began in October 2008, and was substantially complete in December 2008, while commissioning continued into 2009.

The plant will produce approximately 10M litres of spirit per year.

Client Diageo
Designer Aecom
Contractor ROK
Architect Austin Smith Lord



Design category: Commended

Balgay Footbridge, Dundee

Balgay footbridge, Dundee

Balgay footbridge, Dundee

This project demonstrated the value of cooperation between all parties with the considerable benefit to the community. The judges also applauded the environmentally responsible execution.

Balgay Bridge crosses a 13m deep gorge, which separates two parts of Balgay Park in Dundee.

With a main span of 24m and total length of 37m, the category B listed cast iron footbridge was originally constructed in 1872.

Vandalism and an unsounconcrete deck led to the bridge’s closure in 2002. Funding of £250,000 from Dundee City Council and Historic Scotland was then granted in 2006 for repairs and renovation.

The concrete and steel deck framework was removed and replaced with a thinner reinforced concrete deck. This was then connected to the iron structure and supported on a permanent shutter.

Client Dundee City Council, Leisure and Communities
Designer Dundee City Council, City Engineers Division
Main Works Contractor Land and Building Services
Funding Partner Historic Scotland



Design category: Commended

The eight hour bridge, Holm Farm, Dumfries

Collaboration between the client, designer, and contractor was championed in this project as it delivers a short span railway bridge replacement system to minimise the impact on the railway user.

A new design strategy for eight hour bridge renewals was commissioned by Network Rail for its bridges in Scotland.

Proposals were asked to consider bridges with spans up to 18m, the often limited access due to remote location and safe, controlled and incremental works procedures. Ballasted track was also to be provided over the new bridge to mitigate the need for future maintenance.

A modular temporary bridge system was selected as the preferred solution as this could be reconfigured to fit the varying bridge spans and single or multiple track alignments.

A shallow deck and narrow flanges were designed to allow rapid erection and without affecting the clearance envelope and adjacent track support zones.

Client Network Rail Infrastructure
Contractor Carillion Civil Engineering
Designer Arup Scotland

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