Last night, COWI's non-disruptive bridge repairs on the Gade Valley Viaduct was recognised with the Innovative Operator award at the NCE100 awards ceremony in the UK. The event celebrates civil engineering companies that are making an impact in 2019.
"A great example of combining great ideas and new technology to achieve the client's goals with a mind to the end user by keeping the bridge open," said the judges as part of the justification for awarding COWI the Innovative Operator of the year for its work on the 30-year old Gade Valley Viaduct, which carries the UK's busiest road, the M25.
"Through close collaboration with all stakeholders, COWI was able to manage the risks to be as low as possible while deploying innovative assets management and novel technology," they continued.
Solution resulted in cost savings of £2M - £3 million
The M25's original design capacity was 88,000 vehicles per day, but records show that approximately 165,000 vehicles now use the viaduct every day which poses a significant problem.
Suffering from a serious fatigue shortfall resulting from 'breathing' of the bottom flange, COWI was engaged by the operator, Connect Plus, to assess and resolve the issue, applying a series of innovative, structure-specific techniques to optimise interventions.
By determining the structure's real stress ranges and developing a bespoke procedure for improving the fatigue life of its welds, the team reduced strengthening requirements by 35%, minimising disruptive closures and resulting in a cost saving of £2M - £3M.
Joanna Bonnett, COWI Director, has worked on the Gade Valley Project since 2014 and knows the project inside out. She delivered a presentation and was quizzed by the judges about the innovative techniques used on the project, which was then scored against a matrix of key criteria.
The presentation was very well received by the judges, who named Joanna one of 6 Outstanding Presenters.