Destructor Bridge in Bath, designed by Knight Architects with COWI, has won the Vehicle Bridges category at this year’s Structural Awards, hosted by The Institution of Structural Engineers. Project team members accepted the award in front of over 400 industry professionals at the ceremony, held at The Brewery in London on Friday 17 November. 

Knight Architects’ Associate and Project Architect, Sam White, said: “We are honoured to receive this award for Destructor Bridge in the Structural Awards’ 50th anniversary year. The project provided a unique opportunity to build the first new crossing of the River Avon in the City Centre for over 100 years, and one which we hope will be both a new landmark for the Bath Western Riverside development and a destination for people using the river corridor. We would like to congratulate our fellow team members and colleagues for their hard work on this project which has been recognized by this excellent win!”

Destructor Bridge connects the revitalised area of Bath Western Riverside with the A4 Upper Bristol Road over the River Avon. The bridge forms part of Crest Nicholson’s Bath Riverside residential development and was jointly commissioned by Crest Nicholson and Bath & North East Somerset Council. The new structure replaces a truss bridge built almost 150 years ago, leading to the Destructor Works, which was no longer able to serve the needs of the community, nor was it capable of carrying modern traffic loads. The Victorian structure was dismantled in April last year with the replacement bridge moving into position last summer.

The new structure is an elegant 48m long asymmetric steel tied arch bridge with two box girders. It will accommodate a two-lane highway for vehicles, a wider pedestrian walkway, and a cycleway, and will provide improved access to the development area. The steel arch supports a composite deck through flat plate hangers. The prefabricated units were welded on-site in 24 pieces. 

The 400-tonne bridge was launched across the river earlier this year, in a complex operation involving a self-propelled modular transporter driving the bridge from the rear, while the front end was supported by rollers on temporary towers. 

The Structural Awards celebrate the role of structural engineers as innovative, creative design professionals and to showcase the world’s cutting-edge engineering projects.

The new judging process for 2017 saw a panel of eminent judges independently looking at and awarding points to all entries. The highest scoring entries were then evaluated by a ‘sitting judging panel’ which established the shortlist. After ensuring no conflict of interest existed between a judge and any shortlisted project, the final panel selected the category winners.

The judges based their decisions on the structural engineering excellence of the project; the creativity, innovation, elegance and detailing within the structural design, alongside the sustainable techniques and technologies incorporated and of course, the value of the project – both in terms of economic viability and value for money in the structural solution, as well as non-financial indicators of value.

Speaking of Destructor Bridge, the judges said: “Designed in proximity to older, more established heritage bridges, the Destructor Bridge is an understated but expertly considered, detailed and executed vehicle, pedestrian and cycle bridge.”

Photo credits: Simon Kirrane