Gateway and defences win awards

New South Pier

Two Sunderland City Council infrastructure projects have won regional civil engineering awards.

The plaudits and recognition came in the Institution of Civil Engineering (ICE) North East Robert Stephenson Awards 2020.

They were won by the Northern Gateway in the Medium Project of the Year category and the Port of Sunderland Emergency Works was winner of the Small Project category.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller said: "Well done to all the teams who planned and successfully completed these projects. Civil engineers play a major part in our city's life as without them we would not have our roads, our bridges and the infrastructure that helps keeps our city running and functioning.

"Our engineers and our partners bring important infrastructure projects to life through their design, their construction and their maintenance. I would like to commend everyone for their important work, and not just the winners at the Gateway and the port."

The Northern Gateway was a long-standing scheme to improve access in and out of the city centre. It reintroduced two-way traffic to the north of Wearmouth Bridge, created a new junction for coast bound traffic and returned Dame Dorothy Street to two-way traffic. It was completed in stages through 2018 and 2019 that included breaks for major events such as the Tall Ships Event of 2018 and the Sunderland Airshow.

In the winter and spring of 2018, heavy seas damaged piers and sea defences at the Old North Pier, New South Pier and the Stonehill Wall that defends the Port of Sunderland. A series of emergency repair and strengthening works were completed through 2018 and 2019.

Mark Jackson, the council's Assistant Director of Infrastructure, Planning and Transportation, said: "The Gateway was a long-standing project to improve traffic flows that required very detailed planning so it could be successfully completed while minimising disruption to traffic. It's a project that has been well received by many residents and highways users.

"In March 2018 severe storms had a major impact on several of our city's important coastal structures and these repairs were about preventing the damage from getting worse and reducing the risk of costs mounting up in the future.

"Our in-house design and construction teams led on these projects with our partners and we are pleased to report they were both rated so highly by our peers at ICE."

The City Council's Coastal Team worked closely with Durham-based contractors Esh Construction, part of Esh Group, on re-laying the New South Pier's concrete decking during the summer and autumn of 2018.

Steven Conn, Divisional Director of Esh Civils, added: "Through successful collaborative working between client, designer and contractor, works were designed employing materials and techniques that were locally sourced.

"This ensured the team completed all works prior to winter while planning effectively to minimise costs."

The ICE awards were held virtually this year on Thursday 22 October. The awards categorise medium projects as having a value of between £1 and £5m and small projects a value of up to £1m.

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