A project to help migrating eels navigate a newly upgraded watercourse is in line for a prestigious industry award.
The so-called ‘Eelevator’ created at Shalfleet in a project involving Island Roads, the Environment Agency, environmental consultancy Arc and Artecology has been nominated for the BIG Biodiversity Challenge Client Award category in the annual Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) awards.
Nationally, eel numbers have declined recently and one theory for this is that they are unable to navigate man-made structures such as weirs and culverts on watercourses. The ‘Eelevator’ project at Holbrooke’s Bridge includes a series of textured tiles produced to help ease the eels’ passage upstream.
The conservation work – part of a wider Island Roads scheme to upgrade the structure – will mean the local eel population is able to continue its journey unimpeded.
The ‘Holbrooke Eelevator’ is a series of textured tiles with a ‘Hearts and Darts’ pattern which are fixed to the concrete surface of the river bed. At the downstream end of the bridge, the tiles are set in to a bespoke ladder created and installed to provide passage between the nearby pond up to the culvert under the bridge.
Jo Huett Island Roads structures project manager said: “We were delighted to work closely with the EA, Arc and Artecology because nature conservation is important to Island Roads.
“To complete a project that met our responsibilities under the Highways PFI contract whilst also delivering the additional benefit of assisting local wildlife was worthwhile in itself, but being nominated for this award is the icing on the cake.”
The CIRIA awards will be held on September 14 in London.
As a neutral independent and not-for-profit body, CIRIA links organisations with common interests and facilitates a range of collborative activities that help improve the industry.