International awards scheme aims to inspire future civil engineers

The routes into engineering are as many and varied as the possibilities of engineering as a career, but they all start with a moment.

That moment is one small, possibly insignificant encounter that sets a person off on their engineering journey. It could be their first sight of a bridge (or other structure); when they take apart and then successfully rebuild a gadget; the joy of constructing the tallest tower from baby bricks; hearing a parent talk about their work; or it could be a random encounter with a website.

The ICE People’s Choice Awards aim to create more of those moments by drawing the public’s attention to some impressive civil engineering schemes – and we are pleased to say the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project is one of this year’s finalists.

The project, which ran from April 2019 to December 2020, was a multi-million pound scheme to put Rochester Bridge into the best possible condition for the future. It was completed on time, to a very high standard and under budget – despite mostly being carried out during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The winner of the awards is chosen by a public vote, with members of the public invited to visit a website to find out more about each of the finalists.

Bridge Programme Manager Kate Castle explains: “On the surface, this is a publicity contest that we’d very much like to win. However these awards are about so much more than winning – they are about inspiring more people to take an interest in engineering.

“Six of the best civil engineering projects of 2020 are being highlighted for these awards and all of them are exceptional schemes which make a difference to people’s lives. Each of these projects is introduced to the public in a clear, easy to understand way to give people a greater understanding of engineering and – we hope – inspire more people to join this exciting profession.”

The previous winner was the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) Hong Kong section project and this year’s finalists are: Boston Barrier Scheme, Pooley Bridge Replacement, The NI Multimodal Transport Hub (North-West), National Botanic Garden of Wales Regency Restoration, Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project, and The Catalyst. People can find out more about these projects – and vote for their favourite – by visiting the ICE People’s Choice web page.

Or you can find out more about civil engineering at

Film courtesy of Geoff Watkins, Aerial Imaging South East.

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