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Leeds footbridge wins prestigious civil engineering award

Leeds footbridge wins prestigious civil engineering award

"We are delighted that such a unique civil engineering project has been recognised in this way."
Daniel Bowmer and James Harrison-King

A footbridge designed to be the gateway to the city of Leeds has won a prestigious civil engineering award.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has announced that Knostrop footbridge has taken home the Smeaton Award for projects less than £5m, at its 2019 Yorkshire and Humber Awards.

The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme led by Leeds City Council in partnership with the Environment Agency, aims to provide more than 3,000 homes and 500 businesses with protection against flood events from the River Aire, whilst enabling key regeneration opportunities in the South Bank area.

As part of the wider scheme, a length of island was removed to aid flood prevention. This severed the much-used Trans Pennine Trail, and the new Knostrop footbridge serves to reconnect and improve the route, whilst also providing a gateway to the city.

Daniel Bowmer and James Harrison-King, from Mott MacDonald, who worked on the project alongside Leeds City Council, Knight Architects, BAM Nuttall, and SH Structures Ltd, said: “The bridge superstructure consists of a four span externally painted weathering steel curved soffit box girder. With a thickness of only 50mm, the piers virtually disappear when viewed end on, giving the bridge a floating appearance and creating a striking gateway to the city of Leeds.

“We are delighted that such a unique civil engineering project has been recognised in this way.”

The project was one of five projects from across the region to be shortlisted for the Smeaton Award, alongside Runswick Bay Coastal Protection Scheme and Standedge Tunnel End Aqueduct Reconstruction.

The awards are held annually to showcase the outstanding work done during the past year by civil engineers in the Yorkshire and Humber Region. They are divided into three categories; projects with a cost in excess of £5m will compete for the Centenary Award, those under £5m can apply for the Smeaton Award, and those concerned with studies and research can compete for the Sir John Fowler Award.

In 2018 the Smeaton Award was won by the Tadcaster Bridge emergency works.

This year’s winners were revealed at the ICE’s annual black-tie gala dinner at Sheffield City Hall on March 15.

Mark Calvert, Regional Chair added: “Flooding in this country can present one of the biggest challenges for civil engineers, and this project was no exception.

“The project impressed the judges in every aspect of its concept, design and delivery and demonstrated how good engineering is enhanced by use of BIM and early contractor involvement.”