Ilona Hurrell, Contacts and Project Manager

The Bridge Refurbishment Project is a significant part of my role. Even before we were publicly talking about the refurbishment I was liaising with the Bridge Engineer, Arcadis, to plan this project. This included reviewing works proposals and meeting contractors, for instance to develop the design and select the manufacturer for the ornate lighting.

I predominantly work with the Bridge Engineer and the Term Maintenance Contractor, FM Conway, but also have involvement with other contractors, our lawyers and – when out and about promoting my chosen career or acting as a STEM Ambassador – universities, schools and young people. My role means I get to meet a range of people, all of whom are in some way affected by civil engineering and Rochester’s bridges.

Incidentally, when I was a graduate engineer, my first job out of university was at Hyder, now Arcadis. In my role at the Trust I’m back working with my former colleagues. It’s lovely to see them. The dynamic is quite different now I’m on the other side of the table but our good relationships allow for better collaboration, to the benefit of all parties involved in the refurbishment project.

One of the challenges I face comes from the vast history of the Trust, which has many historical agreements and contracts that work very differently from the contracts we use today. It’s something I’m enjoying finding out about because the historical engineering of Rochester’s bridges is part of what makes them so special. It’s a pleasure to be part of the history of Rochester’s bridges and to feel like I’m making a difference to people’s lives – without them even realising it.

As Rochester Bridge Trust is run ‘by the private for the public’, my work focuses on maintaining the quality of the bridges as opposed to making a profit. None of our work is paid for by the public, with the money instead coming from historic donations, which means for this restoration – and all my work – I’m able to focus on what is best overall: on whole life cost and sustainability for the long-term, rather than a cheap fix.

You can find out more about Ilona on the Staff page.