Remembrance, and St Peter’s Bridge

I am extremely proud of Staffordshire’s close links with the military, and therefore it was humbling to see so many people in our county pay their respects to the fallen over the weekend. Staffordshire is of course home to the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, which has become a national focal point for those wishing to pay their respects to those who gave their lives during conflict.  These acts of remembrance are taking on an extra poignancy as we look towards 2018 and mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Last week we announced the reopening of St Peter’s Bridge in Burton, some three weeks ahead of schedule.  The work on the bridge effectively involved rebuilding it, stripping it back to the concrete sections that were put in place in the 1980s, repairing them, replacing the bearings on which the sections sit, and rebuilding the decking and services that run through the structure.  As a mechanical engineer, it’s not unusual to poke fun at the seemingly heavy and unsophisticated business of civil engineering, but this really was a complex project which used some very sophisticated materials and techniques, not least in ensuring that the weatherproofing for the concrete sections would protect them for another 40 years.  I couldn’t help also but be impressed with the logistics and planning, which built a measure of flexibility into the programme.  I’m very grateful to the Amey team and the leadership demonstrated by our Highways Department and the Amey engineers in getting to this point in a calm and understated manner.  I don’t underestimate the disruption that this project has caused in Burton, to businesses and residents alike, and we now must turn similar efforts to helping local businesses recover and improve their performance.  The “Get Vocal About Local” campaign is just a start; we have established a firmer link with the Burton Chambers of Commerce, and both organisations want to build on this in the coming weeks and months.

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