The £7 million new Pooley Bridge has won two prestigious national accolades.
It was named the best civil engineering project (over £5m) in the North West by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association and won the Bridges Construction Award for Projects above £5m from the national Bridge Design and Engineering organisation.
The new bridge project was co-ordinated by Cumbria County Council’s infrastructure recovery project team, and built by Eric Wright Civil Engineering.
Described as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the council’s infrastructure recovery programme, the new Pooley Bridge was completed during the coronavirus pandemic, and was formally reopened to vehicles and pedestrians last October.
The original bridge, built in 1764, was one of more than 450 in the county to be damaged or destroyed by Storm Desmond in December 2015.
The new 128ft bridge is the UK’s first stainless steel single span bridge and was designed as such to avoid the need for piers in the river, reducing the flood risk and making the structure more flood resilient.
Around 80 tonnes of stainless steel has been used, 2,000 tonnes of concrete laid and 650 square metres of locally sourced stone.
Some 250 people were involved in delivering the project, taking approximately 10,000 working hours to construct.
Councillor Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that the new Pooley Bridge has been recognised with these well-deserved national awards.
“The council and our partners have worked hard to repair the widespread damage to our highways and structures following Storm Desmond and the new Pooley Bridge was one of the last major projects to be completed.
“I’d like to thank all our contractors for creating a fantastic new structure, and I’d also like to thank the local community in Pooley Bridge who worked with us through the design stages and throughout the construction.
“The awards are testament to the skills and innovation of all involved, and the iconic new bridge is something we can all be very proud of and will attract many more visitors in the years to come.”
Diane Bourne, managing director of Eric Wright Civil Engineering, said: “We are are so proud that Pooley Bridge has been recognised by the judges to win this award from our peers in the civil Engineering Contractors Association.
“Replacing a much-loved historic structure is never without its challenges and we consulted closely with the local community every step of the way to ensure what we delivered would be a fitting replacement for generations to come.
“The village embraced the project and we are so grateful for all of their support.
“The new bridge connects people once again and is future-proofed for flood resilience which will bring peace of mind to the local community.”