Graduates look at progress of £7m city transport hub

GRADUATE engineers were given the chance to see progress on a multi-million pound development project that will regenerate part of Portsmouth.

Wednesday, 18th May 2016, 5:55 am
A view of The Hard Interchange from the Emirates Spinnaker Tower. Picture: Sarah Standing (160626-3886) PPP-160425-162359001

The Hard interchange is being revamped to transform the area between the Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays.

Nineteen graduate engineers from construction company Osborne, which is carrying out the £7m scheme, visited the Spinnaker Tower to get a bird’s-eye view of the construction site, before they visited the site to see how work has progressed since it started last autumn.

Osborne offers visits to construction sites for its graduate trainees to broaden their knowledge of different projects.

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Jack Cottrell, trainee engineer, said: ‘The redevelopment of The Hard is an excellent focus.

‘Working on an existing structure over the sea provides a number of unique challenges which has driven the use of lightweight concrete and other uncommon materials.

‘The day was a great opportunity to share experiences and innovative methods used on the scheme.’

The new interchange is designed to provide better links for buses and trains, enable pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles to share the space safely and generally make the area look more welcoming.

The busy transport hub is used by commuters who want to get around the city, and also those travelling to the Isle of Wight.

A temporary bus interchange has been set up so this can continue to run smoothly.

The fact that the main site is situated on a platform over the sea has caused engineers to think outside the box with regards to The Hard interchange construction.

Anna Limburn, project manager at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘Our multi-million pound redevelopment of The Hard interchange is a unique scheme which presents many challenges.

‘We’re pleased to have offered graduate engineers the opportunity to view the site from the unique location of the Spinnaker Tower and learn more about the scheme.’

The city council has allocated £2m to the scheme, and £4.8m has been given by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

Work is expected to be completed by this autumn.