Previous Branch History

The CIHT North East and Cumbria Region was formed on May 28 2015, with the merging of the North Eastern and Northern Branches.

North Eastern Branch

Formed in 1952, the North Eastern Branch covered the majority of the Region as it is now, aside from Cumbria. An active branch throughout the decades, it celebrated both a Golden Jubilee and, most recently in 2012, its Diamond Jubilee with a year long programme of events and celebrations. Much of the history and key events were published on the Branch's webpage, which can be viewed below.

Northern Branch

The Northern Branch was formed in 1958 and covered the old counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland as well as Lancashire, north of Morecambe Bay. Collectively these came together as Cumbria in 1974.
Prior to the 1970s the area was still quite inaccessible, with no motorway links. This changed when the M6 was extended from north Lancashire up to Carlisle, opening up an arterial route to Scotland and boosting the economy and tourism in Cumbria. CIHT members played a key role in developing that and subsequent transport infrastructure in the county. You can read about the Northern Branch history in the pages below.

North Eastern

Branch History

The Institution of Highway Engineers was formed in 1930 and not long before the Second World War broke out, two Branches – the Midland and the Northern were inaugurated. It was not until the War ended that the third branch the South West, appeared in 1948.
The Northern Branch existed through the War years to 1949. However, with membership of the Institution rising fast, it was time to split the Branch to form the North Eastern and North Western Branches. Just three years later in 1952 the then North Eastern Branch was further split to form the North Eastern Branch and the Yorkshire and Humber Branch. In 2015, following a branch restructure, the North East Branch merged with the Northern Branch to became the North East & Cumbria Region.
The branch had a distinguished list of chairmen, many of whom have been recognised for the service given to the Institution and to highways and transportation. A list of past Chairmen can be found here.
Whilst the list of past chairmen fills a full page, amazingly just two names form a complete list of Secretaries: from 1952 Steven Plews served 29 years in the role handing over to John Jeffrey the Branch Secretary from 1981.
Over the years the branch has celebrated a number of notable events such as Branch Anniversaries and the making of great engineering achievements; more details of our a number of events including our Golden Jubilee celebrations from 2002 can be found here:

Golden Jubilee
2012 Branch Diamond Jubilee

2011 Transporter Bridge Centenary

The Tees Transporter Bridge connects Middlesbrough and Port Clarence carrying the A178 road from Middlesbrough to Hartlepool via a travelling 'car' or 'gondola' suspended from the bridge by steel cables across the river. Constructed by Sir William Arrol & Co. of Glasgow between 1910 and 1911 it was opened by Prince Arthur of Connaught on 17 October 1911. The bridge was given Grade II* Listed Building status in 1985.

It has an overall length of 259.3m with a centre span of 173.6m and the beam of the bridge is carried at a height of 48.7 metres above the River Tees. It is the second longest of around eleven surviving structures of this type amongst only twenty ever built around the world. The bridge remains fully operational and provides a regular quarter-hourly service 18 hours a day.

The owners of the bridge, Middlesbrough Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, organised a major refurbishment of the bridge in time for the Centenary in 2011.

The CIHT North Eastern Branch joined other institutions in marking the Centenary with a programme of events.


Branch History

The Northern Branch, formed in 1958, provided local focus for members living and working in Cumbria. It was the smallest branch of the Institution, with 122 members at 15 January 06.
In line with the CIHT mission statement the branch aimed to promote the exchange of knowledge, improve policy formulation, stimulate debate on transportation issues, recognise individual competence and encourage best practice in the industry.
The Northern Branch promoted the aims and objectives of the Institution through energetic involvement of it’s members. The Branch supported the local membership through an internal network, membership accreditation and development opportunities.


Its heyday was probably during the period of the design and construction of the M6 motorway which changed north/south transport links dramatically. This and the improvements to the A66 enabled the Lake District to become the easily accessible place it is today, as well as providing a northern access to West Cumbria to the economic benefit of the community.

Local Links

The Branch members were mainly employed by local highways contractors both large and small, as well as by local authorities and by private sector consultants. This broad base gave the Branch links to all those involved in highways and transportation including decision-making politicians.

See below for details of the 50th Anniversary of the Northern Branch

Branch Anniversaries