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Built by Eric Wright Civil Engineering the new Pooley Bridge, which spans the River Eamont in Cumbria, has been named as the best civil engineering project (over £5m) in the north west by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (NW).

Described as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Cumbria County Council’s Infrastructure Recovery Programme it is the UK’s first stainless steel road bridge. It was completed safely during COVID restrictions and was formally opened in October last year.

The original bridge, which was built in 1764, was one of more than 700 bridges in the county to be damaged by Storm Desmond and resulted in a 16km detour to access Pooley. The new bridge designed by internationally renowned Knight Architects, is reminiscent of Telford’s Tay-Bridge, Craigellachie. An elegant structure, the 40m single span bowstring arch and is designed to complement the location without compromising the Lake District National Park UNESCO World Heritage status.

Commenting on the CECA win Diane Bourne, managing director of Eric Wright Civil Engineering said: “We 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.”

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for Highways and Transport, commenting on the win: “I’m absolutely delighted that the new bridge has been recognised with this prestigious award for our contractors Eric Wright. The council worked hard to repair the widespread damage to our highways following Storm Desmond and this was one of the last major projects and is a huge benefit to the local community and the many visitors we welcome here each year.

“I’d like to thank all our contractors and in-house staff teams of engineers and officers working behind the scenes to create such a fantastic new structure. I’d also like to thank the local community in Pooley Bridge who have worked with us through the design stages and throughout the construction. I know they’ve had a lot to put up with, but we now have an iconic new bridge to be very proud of and which will attract many visitors in the years to come.

“My congratulations to Eric Wright on the award – it’s testament to their skill, passion and dedication to the project, and a great example of working successfully in partnership with the council.”

The project team included: Eric Wright Civil Engineering, GHD, WEC Group, R Betts, Sarens, Eden Stonework, PBA Ecology, Waitings, Bill Boley, Knight Architects and Cumbria County Council.

Pooley Bridge is also nominated for the Institution of Civil Engineering (ICE) North West Awards that will be announced on the 11th March. Eric Wright Civil Engineering’s work at Chester’s historic Northgate Steps was also Highly Commended by CECA in the category project under £1M. In Yorkshire and Humber the team has won the ICE Smeaton Award 2021 for the Sugden End Landfill Remediation Works.

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