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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Eric Wright supports local schools as A57 pinch-point works complete

Eric Wright Civil Engineering (EWCE) has completed improvement works for Manchester City Council to remove the notorious pinch-point on the A57 Hyde Road in Gorton.

As well as reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality on the busy road and improving safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, the scheme has also supported the Read Manchester scheme by helping over 7,000 local primary school pupils make the transition to high school.

As part of its social value commitment to the local area, EWCE had planned a variety of activities, including school visits, but these were prohibited by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, a donation of £10,000 was made to local charity Read Manchester, an initiative which aims to connect Year 6 pupils with secondary school pupils through a shared reading programme. The donation funded a free book called “The Kid Who Came From Space“, which was given to 7,351 local children in July, as part of a city-wide initiative to help them get ready for high school.

As well as the reading initiative, EWCE also provided a site engineer apprenticeship for Jacob Carter, a former EWCE work experience placement and Greater Manchester resident. Following the successful completion of his A-levels, Jacob was selected as trainee site engineer and is now continuing his studies with a Level-4 NVQ in Construction Management.

Commenting on the completion of the works and the community support provided, Diane Bourne, managing director of Eric Wright Civil Engineering said: “When we were awarded the tender for the project, we scored very highly on the social value aspect of our bid, so it was very frustrating that Covid restrictions meant we were unable to deliver the planned activity with local schools and colleges that had been programmed in.

“After discussions with Manchester City Council, we agreed that the next best thing would be to support the Read Manchester scheme, which helps children transition from Year 6 to Year 7 – something made especially difficult given the COVID-19 crisis.

“Ownership of EWCE by a Charitable Trust demands we maximise the delivery of social value through our contracting and the donation to Read Manchester totally aligns with the Charitable Trust’s aim of supporting young people and educational charities.”

The pinch point had been created by a 19th century railway bridge and an ugly retaining wall. The £5.9m project saw a replacement 26-tonne steel foot and cycle bridge lifted into place. The new bridge forms part of the Fallowfield Loop walking and cycleway, an extremely important sustainable transport route for walkers and commuters. Additional works included moving a retaining wall and realigning the carriageway on the busy route through East-Manchester. Despite working under tight Covid-19 restrictions on site the A57 project was delivered to programme.

Since 2015, Manchester City Council has applied a minimum 20 per cent weighting to social value when evaluating tenders for contracts. At the time, this was and is believed to remain the highest weighting for social value in the country. In 2020, the council was accredited as a living wage employer by the Living Wage Foundation.

Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, said: “We give social value significant weight when it comes to allocating contracts so we can make our money go a longer way towards supporting our residents. Eric Wright Civil Engineering were committed to working with us to deliver on their commitments and find a way to support local schoolchildren during their work on Hyde Road, despite the limitations caused by the pandemic.

“We have a pioneering approach and dedication to providing social value through our major highways schemes and are determined that projects of this kind should have a lasting impact not just for the city’s roads, but also for our residents through a strong legacy of new opportunities and skills.”

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