26 October 2004 | Download this press release (Adobe PDF format, 167KB)
The A650 Bingley Relief Road, which has cut traffic congestion in the town by more than half, has won this year's Prime Minister's Better Public Building Awards - the first time a highways scheme has scooped the design excellence award.
The Yorkshire road scheme beat 16 other schemes on the shortlist at an evening awards ceremony on 28 October. The 4.5km road included the construction of 26 structures, including a multi-million pound bridge spanning the River Aire and a low-level bridge crossing Bingley South Bog, along a route through the town centre, between numerous man made and natural obstacles and was still completed three months ahead of schedule.
Now in their fourth year, the awards recognise excellence in design quality and procurement practices of publicly funded building schemes and this year saw a record 137 entries.
The judges said: "The A650 Bingley Relief Road had some tricky site conditions to negotiate and a history of local opposition. But aside from the technical skills displayed, it shows what an excellent job was done in terms of public consultation - with exhibtions, neighbourhood forums and a project website all playing their part."
In addition to the construction of 26 structures, the road also had to go through Bingley town centre, between an electrified railway and a canal, traversing three peat bogs and with a major cutting through a contaminated landfill site. Environmental measures included retaining 250,000m3 of contaminated waste on site and reclamation of the entire area of the former landfill. The construction team engaged with the community, especially in school liaison, and the traffic levels in Bingley have been significantly reduced.
Paul Finch, Interim Chairman of CABE and a judge of the awards said: "This year has seen a record number of entries, both large and small scale, and 17 projects were shortlisted, all of which were of a high quality. This is the first time that a civil engineering project, in this case a road scheme, has won the award, which we are delighted about. Good road schemes make an immense difference to the quality of life for motorists and town residents. The excellent design, construction approach and overall delivery of the Bingley Road cannot be underestimated."
Paul Watters, Head of Road Policy at the AA Motoring Trust, said: "The A650 Bingley Relief Road shows that there are still road schemes around that gain public support because they remove the blight of traffic and let communities get on with their lives. CABE's award is a welcome first as it will re-energise people to press for high quality road solutions in places where roads have clearly not kept pace with growing traffic - this was certainly the case at Bingley where for 20 years a main road came to a halt near a town centre."
John Oughton, Chieft Executive of OGC, said: "I am delighted with this award. The project has made a real difference to Bingley. This road scheme was completed ahead of time and shows how a complex set of obstacles can be overcome with imagination and skill. It is an excellent illustration to show that the Government's Achieving Excellence in Construction principles work and meet the user's needs."
The award is jointly sponsored by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and the Office of Government Commerce (OGC). It is part of the British Construction Industry Awards (BCIA).