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Last edited 01 Sep 2021
Great Musgrave: infilled bridge a sad reflection on state of the industry
ICE Fellow Judith Sykes said the infilling of a Victorian bridge with concrete emphasises the need for design principles to be part of a project's whole lifecycle. Skyes has described the infilling of a Victorian bridge in Cumbria as "shocking" and a "sad reflection" on the state of the industry.
The Great Musgrave Bridge was infilled with hundreds of tonnes of concrete to "prevent further deterioration of the bridge from occurring and remove the associated risk of structural collapse”, according to the Government’s roads body, Highways England. The situation emphasised the timeliness of ICE's Design Report, published in July 2021.
“The recent images of the infilling of the arches in Cumbria are shocking,” said Judith Sykes, director of Expedition Engineering and member of ICE's 2020 State of the Nation steering group for the net zero emissions report.
"With all the advances in technology and engineering practice [since the bridge was built 159 years ago], the approach taken is a sad reflection on our industry. For so many reasons – carbon, waste, visual impact, ecology, future proofing – infilling with concrete is not the answer.
Sykes was appointed to The National Infrastructure Commission's (NIC) Design Group in 2019, which launched the Design Principles the same year to raise the level of understanding of how design and design thinking can create value, be climate responsive, enhance the lives of people and contribute to sense of place.
One of the key findings of the research was the need for business models that support better design outcomes. It also highlighted how much more work needs to be done to raise the profile of design at all stages of the project lifecycle.
Sykes said: “The repair and maintenance of our infrastructure assets will be critical to the UK’s mission to be net zero by 2050. Our mission is that all infrastructure companies and their supply chains will adopt the design principles and embed within business practice.”
This article originally appeared on the news portion of the ICE website. It was written by Anh Nguyen and published on 10 August 2021.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Climate change is overlooked in infrastructure projects.
- Highways England.
- ICE articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Project lifecycle for major road projects.
- Vision and validate: a third way in designing the roads of the future.
- Why demolition and infilling are blunt weapons in the management of historic structures.
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