March 01, 2017
After several years, it was a welcome return to Torquay for the annual South Western Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) conference held at The Grand Hotel which was announced a resounding success. The topic for the 2017 CPD event; ‘Stronger together strategic collaboration in challenging times’ was sponsored by Skanska and chaired by SW Region chair, Mike O’Dowd-Jones. He comments: “Following several years hosting the CIHT annual event in Exeter we felt it was the right time to revisit Torquay and we weren’t disappointed. We chose the Grand Hotel for its excellent road and rail links and the stunning situation on the sea-front. The standard of service by the staff was extremely high and we were so delighted, we are planning to return again for next year.”
Over 60 delegates and exhibitors interacted with leading industry experts from across the region. This included speakers representing local authorities; Highways England, City Science Corp Limited and a lively joint presentation by Bev Norman, Service Manager - Somerset County Council and Steve Russell-Yard of Glastonbury Event Festival Ltd, on traffic management at this popular music festival which attracts over 250k visitors a year, and growing.
Mike O’Dowd-Jones – SW Region Chair CIHT said: “Our excellent speakers demonstrated that the South West has enormous expertise in delivering collaborative road, rail and bus projects and improving efficiency of some operational activity such as highway maintenance though working together.”
Following the conference, a VIP evening drinks reception was hosted in the hotel’s library. A black-tie awards dinner attracted 150 guests from across the South West construction industry, who enjoyed a magical evening with mesmerising close-up magic from local magician, Dan Brazier.
Winners for the three award categories were: Innovation - Exeter Park & Ride/Depot Dual Use Scheme; a joint submission by Devon County Council and Stagecoach. A highly commended special merit under this category was awarded to Cornwall Council/Cormac Contracting for Truro Eastern District Centre. Peter Swain - Emerging Professional: Hannah Clark - Devon County Council. Transportation Project of the Year was picked up by Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council & Alun Griffiths Ltd for South Bristol Link project.
Raconteur David Gunson, a former air traffic controller, rounded off the evening’s entertainment with comic stories of his experiences of narrowly averted disasters and a general theme of 'What goes up - doesn't necessarily come down'!
A charity raffle in aid of Devon Air Ambulance Trust, celebrating their 25th anniversary concluded the evening raising £1430 for this worthy cause. The monies raised will go towards the cost of £5.5million needed every year to keep Devon’s two Air Ambulances flying and they extended flying hours up until midnight from Autumn 2016.
Helena Holt, CEO Devon Air Ambulance said: “Devon’s Air Ambulances are very much an essential part of the community we live in. We rely on the generous donations from the people, communities and businesses that support us; and are extremely grateful to CIHT SW for choosing us as their designated charity for this high-profile event. Every penny raised on the night will help to save a life.”