Above:Image of the Toome Bypass & Bridge via Belfast TelegraphIn celebration of its 10th Anniversary, the Construction Employers Federation (CEF), this year added an extra category to the Construction Excellence awards; the pursuit of the best construction project completed in Northern Ireland in the last decade. Projects had been chosen from ten categories ranging from education to entertainment. The award was determined by a public vote undertaken in conjunction with The Belfast Telegraph.
The clear overall winner, announced on the 8th October at the 2009 ceremony, was the Toome Bypass (category: roads). As a regular user of the bypass I can understand why it amassed 54% of the vote. Having reduced average travelling times between Belfast and Derry from almost 3hrs to 1hr and 30 min, this in itself is worthy of recognition. Not to mention the simplistic beauty of the bridge which spans the River Bann, a key component of the bypass.
Designed with both road users, the people of Toome and the local environment in mind the project has been a consistent success. From reducing carbon emissions through the village, the likelihood of an accident within the village and encouraging environmental change though the carefully considered landscaping surrounding the bypass (which included the planting of some 68,000 trees), whilst also retaining access to the river for leisure activities; the bypass presented a strong case against it's competitors. Comments by CEF Managing Director, John Armstrong:
“What the shortlist for the building of the decade really demonstrates is the widespread and positive impact the construction industry has had in Northern Ireland. It is no exaggeration to say that the construction industry has brought benefits to practically every single person living in Northern Ireland... The poll has generated an outstanding response from the public. The voting area of their website has had 10,000 unique visitors, over 150 comments have been left and around 16,000 votes have been cast.”
The statistics also help to illuminate the interest the public in NI have in their built environment.
The close runner up in the poll was Victoria Square, Belfast (category: retail). Another key award of the evening was the Overall Award, given to Patton Construction for Wellington Street Presbyterian Church, Ballymena.
Belfast Telegraph: Construction Excellence Awards
SIB: Toome Bypass