Institution of Civil Engineers 2014 West Midlands Awards

Birmingham City Centre Metro Extension

Client: Centro Partners: Birmingham City Council, Balfour Beatty

The Birmingham City Centre Extension project is an extension to the existing 10.5 mile Line 1 which opened in 1999. It runs predominantly "on-street" through four of Birmingham city centres busiest routes. The alignment is extremely problematic and winds its way along Colmore Row into Bull Street, then around into Corporation Street, and finally with a tight turn at Stephenson Place where it terminates on Stephenson Street.

Rail wear and design life were both a key consideration during the design process as future rail replacement is not only very costly but would be extremely disruptive to the live tram network, road users and adjacent city centre businesses.

The challenge facing the project team was to develop a rail profile and grade of steel to be compatible with 10.5 miles of existing track and the new design of tram wheel and present an extended design life including a measured maintenance regime.

Brumtunnels: Birmingham Tunnels Refurbishment Phase One 2013

Client: Amey Partners: Birmingham City Council, Syndicate Communications

The A38 St Chad's and Queensway tunnels together carry approximately 85,000 vehicles a day into Birmingham city centre. They are more than 40 years old and have never undergone refurbishment.

As part of the Birmingham Highways Maintenance and Management Service, delivered by Amey in partnership with Birmingham City Council, the tunnels needed to be upgraded to improve security and safety, bringing them in line with modern European standards. This included structural modifications, new lighting and ventilation, fire protection measures and emergency systems.

The viability of carrying out the works over two, six-week block closures was investigated. The aim was to overcome operational challenges, minimise disruption and drive efficiency. It was found this could be achieved by combining reduced summer traffic flows and strategic signage, with an extensive communications plan and stakeholder liaison to influence traveller behaviour and encourage modal shift to public transport. Phase one was successfully completed in summer 2013.

Connect2 cycleway and bridge

Client: Herefordshire Council Partner: Amey

Amey was commissioned by Herefordshire Council for the feasibility, preliminary and detailed design of a landmark crossing over the River Wye in Hereford. The route opened in December 2013, created safer access from the city to the south and Rotherwas Industrial Estate enterprise zone, aiding the city's regeneration.

The design eliminated the use of busy main roads, a narrow local road and a major junction therefore attracting cyclists and pedestrians by significantly reducing journey times. The aesthetically pleasing design included a 95-metre cable-stayed bridge with low long-term maintenance costs.

During the design process, multiple restrictions were considered including the impact on the Site of Special Scientific Interest on the River Wye and minimising the effect of high water flows to the flood plain. Site access constraints included a sewage works, existing service bridge and the triangular shape of the site, bounded by a railway, residential area and river.