A MAJOR sea defence project at Sandsend, near Whitby, has won a major engineering award for its outstanding innovation.

The 900-metre long defences were recognised in the annual Yorkshire Structural Awards, organised by the Yorkshire regional group of The Institution of Structural Engineers.

The awards, held at the Met Hotel in Leeds, recognise the best new engineering feats in the county and the people behind the work.

The Sandsend MULEs project was engineered by Rotheram-based Eadon Consulting, which won the “Medium Structures by Small Company” category.

The design involves interlocking, precast concrete revetments, installed on concrete beams, to form a barrier against the tide.

The MULE (Mobile Unit Lifting System) is a new and innovative movable structure, which was developed to manoeuvre the concrete revetments.

It meant that a major new piece of engineering was produced without the need for major road and beach closures as traditional revetment construction would have required.

The judges said: “This innovative system overcame the constraints of the site to produce a system that brought benefits in safety, economy and efficiency, reducing disruption to the local road network and contributing significantly to preventing further erosion of the North Yorkshire coastline.”

Other winners included The Diamond, a new £81m engineering building at the University of Sheffield engineered by Arup – winner of the “Large Structures by Large Company” category.

It was the largest investment in teaching and learning ever undertaken by the University and houses specialist laboratories, lecture theatres, flexible teaching spaces, workshops, a resource centre and study areas for 5,000 students.

The Word, a new central library in South Shields, was engineered by Curtins, who have an office in Leeds, and won the “Medium Structures by Large Company” category.

David Richardson, chair of The Institution of Structural Engineers Yorkshire Regional Group, said: “Once again the Yorkshire Structural Awards showcase the incredible contribution structural engineers make as innovative, creative problem solvers, designers, and the guardians of public safety in Yorkshire’s built environment.”