The East Leeds Orbital Route (ELOR) was awarded the Transport Project of the Year at the 2023 British Construction Industry Awards (BCIA).

The winners of the 2023 British Construction Industry Awards, jointly organised by New Civil Engineer and the Institution of Civil Engineers, were announced in front of the industry on 11 October in London.

Following an in-person evaluation by a panel of expert judges, the East Leeds Orbital Route stood out in a highly competitive field. It not only delivered a road but also provided a valuable community asset where vehicular travel is complemented by safe, sustainable options for active travel and equestrian routes. It is as much a local amenity as it is a road.

The judges commended the entire team for their collaboration in delivering social value for the region. This was achieved not only by unlocking much-needed homes but also by creating opportunities for children of all ages, as well as young people, to learn about the construction industry.

The team’s efforts in producing and distributing children’s books about engineering were recognised. Additionally, their work with graduates and apprentices who have gone on to take roles in the sector was praised for enhancing employability for those who joined the project to gain work experience.

The judging panel also acknowledged the team’s commitment to environmental responsibility, particularly their work on water quality and drainage, as well as their dedication to green corridors along the active travel routes.

Furthermore, on Friday, 27 October, the scheme received the award for ‘Best Large Highways & Transportation Project 2023’ from the Yorkshire and Humber Chartered Institute of Highways Transport Awards.

Councillor Helen Hayden, executive member for infrastructure and sustainable development, said; “We are proud to see the East Leeds Orbital Route nationally recognised as an exemplar scheme of what can be achieved and sets the benchmark for others to follow.

“Congratulations to the project team on this success. The East Leeds Orbital Route is more than a road network, this and the East Leeds Extension improve connectivity and help regenerate the wider East Leeds area by boosting economic growth and bringing more jobs to the area, with connected greenspaces that promote active travel and healthy lifestyles.”

Leeds City Council have worked closely with West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) to secure funding from a range of sources for the scheme.

Simon Warburton, Executive Director of Transport at the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said; “It’s great that the East Leeds Orbital Route has been recognised by industry leaders.

“This scheme is crucial, not only for improving the transport network in east Leeds but for unlocking the delivery of thousands of new homes too.

“It’s helping us create a brighter, better-connected region through new walking and cycling routes, safer roads, and reduced traffic congestion in the city.”

Stephen Semple, Area Director at Balfour Beatty, said; “We are delighted to have been recognised for our role in delivering the largest infrastructure project in Leeds in over fifty years – the East Leeds Orbital Route.

“It is through a wholly collaborative effort with Leeds City Council that we have been able to transform travel, connect communities and stimulate economic growth in Leeds, for generations to come.”

Mark Weston, Director of Access at The British Horse Society, said; “We’re thrilled that the East Leeds Orbital Route has been recognised for this award. Leeds City Council and Balfour Beatty have worked incredibly hard to deliver a project that has been so beneficial to the equestrian community. Horse riders can enjoy the great outdoors with their well-loved companion, all in the comfort of knowing that they have access to safe crossings and bridleways. We’re very grateful to have been a part of this project.”

Belinda Smart, deputy editor of New Civil Engineer, said; “The standard across all award categories was particularly impressive this year.

“The judging process found that all entries were of a notably high calibre, with the winners standing out as setting new benchmarks in best practice. Well done to all of our 2023 winners!

“The BCIA programme not only celebrates excellence in the construction industry but enables industry peers and colleagues to share knowledge and innovation and to inspire each other. With climate change and rising costs continuing to present sectoral and societal challenges, this year’s winners demonstrate the industry’s willingness and ability to rise to those challenges, with solutions that benefit the wider community.”

The winners will be revealed on Tuesday, 21st November, at London’s ExCeL.