THERE was double celebrations for an engineer – not only did she oversee the lowering of the A45 footbridge into place but she also had a baby within weeks of each other.
Esther Redpath managed the installation of the bridge and worked closely with designers and fellow engineers to make sure the 92-tonne footbridge – which is part of £282million works to upgrade junction 6 on the M42 – was put into place safely.
And some 12 weeks after the new footbridge was lowered into place across the A45 she gave birth to her daughter.
Given the scale and complexity of the work involved, Esther – who works for construction and development company Skanska – said a key part of her role was also maintaining her own health and wellbeing during her pregnancy.
Esther said in the early days, when she used to go home and get straight into bed after working all day, she told a few trusted colleagues with her news so could look out for her and make sure her health and wellbeing was taken care of.
The new mum said: “My primary focus was always to get the bridge built safely and it was a real team effort to make sure that happened.
“Once things got further along in my pregnancy and I told more people, I had lots of support – the health and safety lead at Skanska worked with me to put together a risk assessment.
“This was good because it meant I could continue work on site right up until eight months, without putting the baby at risk.
“I wasn’t able to work at height so as a workaround some site engineers would check the bearings for me. I stayed on the ground, and we used our mobile devices to keep in touch on-camera which allowed me to see what was going on above my head.”
The new footbridge allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross the A45 near the Arden Hotel.
Esther added: “My proudest moment is seeing the main deck get lifted into place across the A45. There had been a huge amount of preparation leading up to the night of the working being done, but the hours flew past and it all went very quickly.
“And I’m proud to have made a difference to the local community.
“The new bridge provides a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the A45. We have heard from some local residents that say they are excited to take their grandchildren across the bridge to reach the train station and go for a day out.
“I’ll look forward to the day when my daughter grows up and I can show her the bridge and explain my role in leading the installation of it.”