Prestigious innovation award for Squibbers Way project

Collecting the 2020 South West CIHT Innovation Award, from left: Martin Tugwell, President of the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation; Greg Brock, Aecom Project Manager; Gareth McNern, Whitemountain Project Manager; Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways; Richard Needs, Somerset County Council’s Service Manager – Engineering Design; Nik Bowyer, Chair of the CIHT South West Region; Chris Young, from sponsor Waterman Aspen.

The project team involved with designing and building Squibbers Way in Bridgwater has scooped a prestigious award for overcoming engineering challenges through innovation.

Somerset County Council, in partnership with main contractor Whitemountain, won first place in the 2020 South West Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) Innovation Award.

The project was also Highly Commended in the Transportation Project of the Year category.

The CIHT Awards aim to recognise the outstanding contribution that good projects and people make to our daily lives.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “We have a proven track record in delivering major schemes to improve lives for residents across Somerset but we are particularly proud of Squibbers Way.

“Not only was it completed on time and on budget – and with a spectacular opening event – it was also a technically challenging project to deliver.

“So we are thrilled to have won this prestigious award, voted for by chartered industry experts, which recognises the innovation in design and delivery.”

Whitemountain’s Project Manager said: “The Whitemountain team have thoroughly enjoyed delivering this intricate, complex and challenging Civil Engineering project.

“It has been a pleasure to work in Bridgwater and develop relationships with Somerset County Council and local organisations and charities. We are exceptionally proud of our team for delivering an excellent piece of infrastructure and for going above and beyond with their many hours of voluntary service and fundraising to further support the community.”

The spectacular opening of Squibbers Way

Squibbers Way was the name chosen by the people of Bridgwater for the Colley Lane Southern Access Road and opened in December with a spectacular squibbing display by Bridgwater Carnival.

Construction photo showing the Somerset Bridge and polystyrene embankment

A number of technical innovations were used in the £18.4m project, including:

  • The Somerset Bridge – at 52m the longest single span bridge in Somerset – was specifically designed without piers to minimise erosion and flood risk in the River Parrett.
  • The design uses 9,000m3 of polystyrene instead of traditional aggregate along 300m of embankment to minimise loading on the flood plain between the river and canal.
  • On-site recycling of materials, including cellophane waste and the by-products generated by the 1,000 piles required for this scheme. This saved an estimated 2,000 lorry movements.
  • Specialist machinery was used on site to segregate waste material which reduced the amount required to go to landfill by 97%.
  • A bespoke embankment solution to avoid substantial works in connection with exisiting overhead power lines.

Representatives from Somerset County Council, Whitemountain, Aecom, WSP, and the wider project team collected the trophy at a glittering awards ceremony at the University of Exeter’s Great Hall on 26 February.

And that’s not all – the Squibbers Way scheme has also been shortlisted in the regional RICS Social Impact Awards. These awards aim to showcase world class examples of how the build environment can have a direct positive impact on society. The winners will be announced in May.

You can stay up to date with Somerset County Council’s highways team by following @TravelSomerset on Twitter.

  • The £18.4m Colley Lane Southern Access Road scheme was funded by EDF S106 contributions, housing developer S106 contributions, the DfT Productivity Investment Fund and Somerset County Council’s capital programme.