Terenez Bridge and Port Botany Expansion announced as joint winners of World Infrastructure Awards for Transport

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The inaugural World Infrastructure Awards judging session was a resounding success, with a team of esteemed judges slugging it out over a wealth of innovative, daring and beautiful projects.

We were happy to welcome Buro Happold infrastructure expert Philip Bates, Arup’s Global Infrastructure Practice Chair Peter Chamley, European Investment Bank Urban Planning advisor Brian Field, Beckett Rankine Director and maritime civil engineer Gordon Rankine, and Strategic Transport Director for Atkins Andy Southern to our panel.

The scrutinised projects offered a truly global spread, with ports, airports, roads and bridges and tunnels strongly represented. The contenders ranged from spiralling, neon-lit footbridges to record-breaking tunnelling endeavours; from brazen pieces of infrastructure-as-public-art to hulking monoliths that somehow melted into their desolate surroundings.

Such was the strength of the pack, our judges found it impossible to settle on one winning project. Hence, joint winners were necessary. First to stop the judges in their tracks was the Port Botany Expansion Project in Sydney, by Baulderstone and Jan de Nul. With their engineering hats on, Peter and Gordon glowed over the innovative use of precast counterfort retaining wall units, and the unique radial crane system used for efficient on-site casting. The rest of the panel marvelled at the “scale and ingenuity” of the project, which no doubt represents the pinnacle of port engineering – perhaps the unsung hero of the infrastructure world.

Secondly, the panel could not tear their eyes from the gorgeous images of the Terenez Bridge in France – by SETRA, Virlogeux, Lavigne-Chéron Architectes and ARCADIS. The bridge’s eye-catching curve not only provides “excellent aesthetics”, the judges agreed, but elegantly accommodates the pre-existing curvature of the road. This graceful response to a brief, in a “stunning” combination of engineering and design, left our judges universally wowed.

Two bridge projects were selected for high commendation by the judges. First, the US-191 Colorado River Bridge, by FIGG, was upheld as a triumph of design in the arid, red setting of Moab. The subtle beauty of its red arches, mirroring the surrounding area of outstanding natural beauty, was ruminated on as a fabulous example of infrastructure complimenting the natural environment.

Second, the Milton-Madison Bridge Replacement project, by Buckland & Taylor, was chosen to be highly commended. The panel was bowled over by the time-saving lateral thinking and ingenuity inherent in the project, which sees a new bridge constructed then slid into place onto existing foundations.

So, after the dust settled, we were left to survey two very distinct projects held equally above a shortlist that provided pleasing symmetry and geographic diversity in equal measure: two airports, two bridges, a port and a tunnel project, spread over four continents. This was an extremely difficult choice for our judging panel, who were split precisely down the middle. For this reason we would like to offer both Baulderstone and Jan de Nul, and SETRA, Virlogeux, Lavigne-Chéron Architectes and ARCADIS our earnest congratulations for the joint victory of the inaugural World Infrastructure Awards 2013.

Watch the video of the jury selecting the winners below: