Western Quay saviours win Project of the Decade

Engineering experts who have gone the full 300 metres saving a popular River Tyne quayside have won their company a Project of the Decade Award

Engineering experts who have gone the full 300 metres saving a popular River Tyne quayside have won their company a Project of the Decade Award.

The Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association (CECA North East) has made a Project of the Year Award annually since 2003.

This year the CECA has reassessed all the previous winners and named the Western Quay restoration at North Shields, carried out by engineers Southbay Civils, as the best project overall.

Western Quay, one of several smaller quays making up North Shields Fish Quay, on which 1,200 jobs depend, safeguards the livelihoods of fishermen and business people, and is important to a renaissance underway there.

It had faced closure through deterioration that was endangering public safety, but Southbay Civils, of Willington Quay, tendered lowest to do a job originally envisaged at England’s biggest prawn port.

Having won the contract, it produced an alternative design-and-build proposal, freeing £1m of the £5.75m cost to carry out fuller reconstruction.

Its workforce laid a specially designed steel mat over the existing quay for a customised crane to crawl over and work from. Sinking piles that way into the quay, laid in 1905, avoided a costlier method of working from a craft on the river. The value-for-money solution by Southbay Civils has ensured the entire quay’s safety and savings from its alternative approach, also involving structural consultants Fairhurst, have enabled the quay’s full 300 metres to be physically and visually transformed.

Paul Stephenson, managing director of Southbay, said: “This high risk, complicated and environmentally sensitive scheme has proved a success for us. It was carried out only five metres from a busy street of homes and shops. Naturally we feel very proud.”

Southbay won CECA North East’s annual project award in 2011. Douglas Kell, director of CECA (North East), added: “The entire list of our awards made over 10 years illustrates how civil engineering still excels in our region though it’s the worst hit in the UK by recession. Southbay shows, for example, how money is saved long term when projects get a prompt go-ahead.”

Three other North East projects have additionally been commended – two by Byzak, tunnelling specialists of Gateshead, and one by Seymour (Civil Engineers) of Hartlepool.

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