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Council’s Infrastructure Recovery Programme team scoops three prestigious awards

Brougham Old Bridge finished

[C]umbria County Council’s Infrastructure Recovery Programme (IRP) team scooped a hat-trick at the prestigious 12th annual North West Regional Construction Awards held on Friday 6 July in Manchester.  A total of eighteen awards were up for grabs with the Cumbria team taking home three:

  • Preservation and Rejuvenation Award
  • Sub-Regional Project of the Year
  • Project of the Year for Civil Engineering

The awards recognise the IRP team’s work on Brougham Old Bridge, an English Heritage-listed bridge that was built in 1811 and provides key access to the popular tourist attraction of Brougham Castle on the outskirts of Penrith.

Work in progress at Brougham Old Bridge
Work in progress at Brougham Old Bridge

The bridge is one of more than 1,200 individual schemes within the council’s £120m Infrastructure Recovery Programme (IRP), established following Storm Desmond in December 2015.  In the days that followed the storm, river levels rose to unprecedented highs and washed away significant structural elements of the bridge.  The level of damage to the structure was so severe that from a structural and engineering perspective, the council’s engineers were amazed that the bridge was still standing – it defied engineering logic.  This level of damage and structural instability presented the project team with a number of challenges, not least a three metre exclusion zone established around the structure meaning that the initial stabilisation repairs were undertaken at arms-length.  Penrith-based Metcalfe Plant Hire – Civil Engineering Division, along with their Kendal-based engineering partner Curtins, were appointed to undertake the reconstruction.

Brougham Old Bridge following Storm

Brougham Old Bridge and the wider Infrastructure Recovery Programme stood out to the judges for a number of reasons:   They were extremely impressed at how the project and programme had captured the ‘hearts and minds’ of individuals involved in its reconstruction and that of the entire programme; and they were delighted to see how the council had blended modern innovative construction techniques with traditional craftsmanship and heritage skills to repair the bridge and preserve the rich environmental tapestry of the local area.

David Brown, the county council’s IRP team Director, said: “The end result is a wonderful combination of cutting edge and traditional craftsmanship that dovetails beautifully into the existing stonework structure and marks a new chapter in the life of Brougham Old Bridge.  This was a truly memorable project to have been part of and it’s fantastic to receive recognition from the UK construction industry – well done and thank you to all the IRP team and contractors involved.”

Stephen Hall, county council Assistant Director for Highways & Transport, said: “We feel that the preservation and restoration of assets like Brougham Old Bridge showcase our regional depth of traditional construction experience and modern innovative techniques.  Projects like Brougham Old Bridge require a particular blend of skill-set, they need an intimate knowledge of traditional construction methods, modern technological solutions, and most of all a work force that are emotionally connected to the project.  We’re fortunate that within our county we have all of these.”

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