Beauly-Denny line and M8 M73 M74 projects scoop top civil engineering awards

Keith Brown at opening of the new M8/M73/M74
Keith Brown at opening of the new M8/M73/M74

The new 220km overhead transmission line between Beauly and Denny and the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements project were among the winners at this year’s Saltire Civil Engineering Awards.

The recipient of the Greatest Contribution to Scotland Award, the Beauly-Denny line helps transport electricity from windfarms and other renewable energy schemes in the north of Scotland to consumers across the UK and has effectively doubled the renewable energy capacity of the network enabling Scotland to meet nearly half its target of 50% renewable energy supply and UK and EU targets of 20% of all energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. The judges recognised its importance in securing Scotland’s sustainable energy future and contributing to decarbonising electricity generation in Scotland.

One of Scotland’s largest infrastructure projects, the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project completes the missing link in central Scotland’s motorway network. Winning the Infrastructure Award, the £500 million project brings safer roads with improved connections, journey time reliability and a better quality of life for road users, communities and industry in the west of Scotland and beyond as well as promoting significant sustainable economic growth. Commended in the same category was the Glasgow Subway Modernisation project.

Welcoming the prize, Keith Brown, cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, said: “This award is very well deserved as the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project was a massive undertaking which presented a range of technical and logistical challenges within a demanding timeframe.

“The project team’s response was first class and delivered a rejuvenated road network which is already delivering for Scotland’s economy by cutting congestion and reducing journey times for more than 100,000 vehicles a day.”

Run by the Institution of Civil Engineers, in association with the Saltire Society, the Awards recognise excellence and innovation in civil engineering and celebrate its contribution to our quality of life.

The Awards attracted 15 entries from Shetland to Selkirk including harbours, bridges, motorways, distilleries, hydro schemes and power cabling, railways, public spaces, sports centre and flood protection schemes.

The Community Award went to the Cuningar Woodland Park and Footbridge project in Glasgow; the Building Award to Edinburgh Gateway; the Environmental Award to Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme; and the Designed in Scotland Award to AECOM in Glasgow for their work on the Stockholm Bypass.

Presenting the main awards at a special ceremony at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, Jamie Hepburn, MSP, minister for employability and training, said: “These awards provide an opportunity to recognise the skills and contribution civil engineering makes to the economy and wider society thanks to improved connectivity and a more resilient infrastructure.

“I was delighted that Transport Scotland’s M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements project won. This and the other transport projects shortlisted, can make a significant contribution to our vision for a prosperous, fair and well-connected Scotland.

“As Scotland works toward achieving a low carbon, sustainable economy I was also pleased to see the Beauly-Denny Overhead Transmission Line win its category enabling Scotland to double its renewable energy network capacity.

“The range and diversity of projects across a range of locations at home and abroad clearly shows that Scotland’s civil engineers have the skill and talent to meet the needs of Scotland and beyond.”

Convenor of the judging panel, Ainslie McLaughlin, said: “The complexity and challenges faced in delivering the Beauly-Denny and M8 M73 M74 projects make them very worthy winners. Constructing a powerline in remote, inhospitable and environmentally challenging terrain, whilst maintaining safety and quality standards, shows a great expertise and dedication. The construction and management of the M8 M73 M74 also required real skill and ingenuity to minimise disruption on the busiest roads in Scotland. Partnership working produced real synergies in this large and complex project.”

Magnus Linklater, president of the Saltire Society, added: “We are delighted that the Saltire Civil Engineering Awards are celebrating their 37th anniversary this year. Civil engineering is vital to modern society and a successful economy. It shows Scotland at its best. We at the Saltire Society believe it is important to recognise the achievements of the industry and the wide variety of projects that make such an impact on our daily lives.”

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