Gary Elliott..... TV Star – Latest

Gary Elliott..... TV Star

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Gary Elliott was invited by the London Live TV channel to discuss Rotherhithe Bridge and the procurement process being used by TfL.

Below is a type up of the interview with Luke Blackall.

Tell me, how did you find out that you wouldn’t effectively be included in the future project?

It has really come through the procurement process and we have established from that that the bascule design has been effectively excluded from the design proposals by the feasibility study that was carried out, which is clearly very disappointing.

They (TfL) say that no full decision has been made, it has not even been decided that there will definitely be a bridge. You sound like you’re not holding out much hope?

TFL have effectively established that there will be a bridge in that location but are not considering bascule bridge designs.

They have also said that you could have had an opportunity, you could have partnered up with one of the big firms that was on their approved list, and you could still be part of it.

That is absolutely not the case we believe, they have actually excluded the bascule design during the feasibility process, which means that we can no longer be considered. So, none of the participants would be interested in talking to us because the bascule design has effectively been excluded.

Tell us about your design, tell us what you are hoping to create?

Essentially we came up with what we thought was a very elegant design that effectively opened to allow ships to pass fully, irrespective of their potential height in the future. So it gives complete flexibility. We wanted to create a elegant design, but one that was practical and of course cost effective.

And cost effective because is often what people think, it looks like an extraordinary, wonderful feat of design, if I may say so. But is there often a cheaper way of doing these things?

Well there is obviously the challenge is essentially that you’ve got to span the full width of the river, so whatever bridge you put there, there is a technical challenge. But we felt that the bridge we’ve come up with is technically absolutely feasible, and that has been backed up by world leading bridge engineers as well. We think it’s cost effective, we have actually had it priced, which is a step well beyond the other alternatives that are currently available.

What would you like to see happen?

All we are really asking for is for a fair opportunity for our design to be considered, as part of the process. At the moment we feel that our design is being excluded and we fundamentally feel that is an unfair position. How are Tfl going to justify to Londoners in the future that they got best value, if they effectively exclude the design that’s there? The design has been there for 4 and a 1/2 years. We have worked on it with no client, no brief and no fee either. The project is out there and for it not now to be considered at this point in time, seems to be a bit of a travesty.

What they are looking at, a couple of other options, a swing bridge, a vertical lift. Is part of you as an engineer thinking that, actually, that could work?

Well we looked at those during the early stages. All bridges have pluses and minuses, however we think that the procurement process so far has rather unfairly looked at the positives of those two other options and not at the negatives of those. And then compared it against the negatives of ours which we consider to be rather unfair.