A MAJOR tunnelling project in Somerset has won a top award.

The Hinkley Point C Marine Works Tunnels were presented with the Project over £8million New Build Award, sponsored by Arup, at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) South West Civil Engineering Awards in association with Kier BAM.

The awards were presented by Rob Bell, TV presenter and engineer, on Thursday, September 30, in Bristol.

The judges described the Hinkley tunnels as 'an epic feat of engineering on an awe-inspiring scale'.

Balfour Beatty project director, Roger Frost, said they were 'extremely pleased' to have won the award on 'such an important' scheme.

"This significant achievement is the culmination of the hard work and tenacity of our expert team, who have worked efficiently and safely through what has been an incredibly challenging period," he said.

The tunnels took more than three years to build, with the completion of all the onshore primary lining tunnel construction works, the excavation of one of the two intake tunnels and launched the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) for the Outfall Tunnel.

All of these form part of the cooling water supply system for Hinkley Point C.

Mike Gallop, Network Rail Western route director and chair of the judging panel, added: “These awards are an amazing showcase for our regional industry, highlighting the endeavour, passion and technical ability that goes into building things.

"But more than that, the awards shine a light on what infrastructure can do for people. It’s this human impact that has really defined the awards this year.

"In particular, how civil engineers in the South West have responded during a time of crisis to deliver on behalf of their communities.”

Ten projects from across the South West won awards during the evening, including young engineers.

Miranda Housden, ICE South West regional director, said: “The one thing all the winners have in common is the direct benefit they bring to people through their work.

"Our awards are a real tribute to the thousands of civil engineers who continue to bring huge societal benefits to people in the South West.”