Archived News

    RPS advises Transport Infrastructure Ireland on Vehicle Restraint Systems.

    19 November 2018

    RPS advises Transport Infrastructure Ireland on Vehicle Restraint Systems.

    In a recent pilot project, delivered for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and Mayo County Council, RPS reported that the use of screw and pin brace systems installed at an angle under the road pavement can provide additional support to Vehicle Restraint Systems (VRS). This compensates for the poor ground or narrow verges, and allow the restraint system to perform as intended.

    Delivering innovation and change

    At a recent TII one-day national conference for those involved in the design, installation and maintenance of VRS. Padraic Culkin and Rowan O’Callaghan presented papers on some of RPS’ recent work with TII. The event was opened by TII Chief Executive Michael Nolan who stated that improving road safety continues to be a strategic objective for TII. The agenda for the day included international speakers from Sweden, Belgium and Italy.

    Rowan presented a paper on a pilot project that RPS is delivering for TII and Mayo County Council which is exploring new and innovative solutions for supporting restraint systems in poor ground conditions and on narrow ramparts. The key finding to date is that screw and pin brace systems installed at an angle under the road pavement can provide additional support to the safety barrier posts and thereby compensate for the poor ground or narrow verges, and allow the restraint system to perform as intended. This pilot project also involved the first dynamic tests carried out on VRS in Ireland which mimics the impact of an errant vehicle.

    Rowan further advised: “Designing VRS will always present challenges. The best advice we can give is to consider them as early as possible in the design process, otherwise you may end up compromising road safety for the end users of your scheme. As recognised experts in this area, it is important that projects being designed by RPS benefit from the expertise we have gained over the years”.

    Rowan O’Callaghan of RPS presenting to the TII 2018 VRS Conference

    Padraic presented a paper on RPS’s role in delivering a step-change in the quality of VRS installations and repairs in Ireland since becoming TII’s leading VRS design consultancy, through constantly developing our industry knowledge, design processes, and oversight regimes.

    Key TII Advisors

    RPS as key advisors to TII and the only consultancy sitting on the Executive Committee of the Irish Barrier Association are currently involved in a number of high profile VRS related commissions with TII and various Local Authorities including:

    VRS Design Consultants for 22 Local Authorities across Ireland on the TII nationwide VRS repair and replacement programme;

    Consultants on the development of a new Regionalised VRS Maintenance Regime on the non-MMaRC / non-PPP national road network;

    VRS Design Consultants on the N58 Pilot Project;

    Advisors to TII on the development of revised national VRS design standards and specifications;

    Authors of the new National VRS Maintenance Guidelines;

    Trainers as part of the Engineers Ireland Level 8 TII VRS Designers Training Course.

    A first for Ireland - dynamic site testing of VRS posts underway on the N58 in Co Mayo

    VRS around the world and in Ireland

    The use of VRS on our road network to minimise injuries to vehicle occupants is a hot topic throughout Europe and indeed worldwide at the moment. In the US lawsuits have been taken against manufacturers claiming that some guardrail systems may be faulty, while in Europe, significant questions are being asked about how EU standards (e.g. EN1317) are keeping up with changes to vehicle and infrastructure developments. At RPS, through the work our team in Sligo have completed with the support colleagues in Galway, Dublin and Cork, we have become the recognised industry leader in VRS design, and are working closely with TII, Local Authorities and specialist VRS contractors to continue to drive improvements in safety standards.

    If your project involves VRS and you need advice, design support or design reviews, please get in touch with Rowan and his Team.


    Rowan O’Callaghan

    Padraic Culkin

    Gerry Carty wins 2018 European CEO of the Year Award

    07 November 2018

    Gerry Carty wins 2018 European CEO of the Year Award

    Managing Director of RPS Ireland, Gerry Carty has been awarded the prestigious European CEO of the Year Award 2018.

    The Award recognises exceptional, innovative and creative leaders who have demonstrated strong integrity and contributed significantly to both the industry and wider society.

    The Association for Consulting and Engineering (ACE) believes it is essential for these leaders to receive industry-wide recognition for their achievements as ambassadors for the profession. While businesses succeed because of the collective effort of all of their employees, the role played by their leaders in defining and articulating a vision, as well as finding and encouraging creative ways of growing, are critical factors in continued success.

    Awards are presented in three categories to CEO’s for their achievements in small, medium and large scale consultancies. The awards focus on innovation, creativity, sustainability and new ways of doing business. Nominees must have displayed strong leadership qualities within their organisation, be accountable and have built strong links to industry and key decision makers. Gerry has been nominated for the medium scale consultancy award (between 300 and 700 employees).

    The awards took place on 5 November in London as part of the 2018 European CEO Conference.

    Gerry has overall responsibility for RPS activities in Ireland. He has led the company since 2012, implementing a comprehensive development strategy focused on the achievement of excellence and delivery of high quality services to clients, using best practice technology and integrated cross discipline service delivery. He has been responsible for the delivery of a range of large infrastructural projects including; motorways, energy, educational, water, health, environmental protection and remediation from commencement to completion.

    Gerry is currently Vice President of the Association of Consulting Engineers Ireland (ACEI). He was chairman of CWIEM in Ireland in 1999/2000, chairman of the National Hazardous Waste Prevention initiative, a member of the EPA Audit Committee, is a trustee and chairman of a large pension fund and is a mentor for the Institute of Directors. He has published extensively and is a volunteer/coach with a number of sporting and charity organisations.

    On the award Gerry Carty said “This really is a huge honour and I would like to thank ACE for the award and recognition.  Of course, this award represents the very fine work the entire team at RPS has undertaken over the last number of years.

    "Under a challenging economic climate we have diligently worked to develop our business. With the hard work of our talented team we have together been successful in deploying a number of initiatives which have contributed to our growth. We are excited to continue this into 2019 and beyond as we aim to further develop the RPS brand both regionally and globally.” 

    Over the last six years a wide range of development initiatives in digital design, collaborative working, lean and agile working, wellbeing, management skills, leadership programmes and client relationships have been introduced at RPS Ireland that have contribution to growth of over 50% in fees and employment of an additional 150 staff.

    Images courtesy of ACEI
    Engineering your future - At home, in Ireland

    01 November 2018

    Engineering your future - At home, in Ireland

    Are you looking to move back home to Ireland or UK soon? Are you working in the Engineering industry looking for a new challenge? If so, we need your experience and skills to contribute to major infrastructure projects in Ireland and the UK.

    We are hiring across civil, mechanical and electrical disciplines.

    Who are RPS?

    RPS are a recognised leader, award winning multidisciplinary engineering, environmental, project communications and project management consultancy. Internationally, RPS employ over 5,500 people developing pioneering and innovative ideas on strategic, sustainable policies and projects. In Ireland, RPS employ 600 talented, high-performing industry professional. Learn more about RPS in Europe.

    What opportunities are available?

    RPS is currently managing large-scale transport and infrastructure projects in both Ireland and the UK. These projects have created significant opportunities for

    Civil engineers with a focus on highways, bridges, drainage, geometrics, water and general infrastructure.


    Electrical engineers

    Project Managers

    We are seeking candidates at all levels of the organisation. Please see link for further detail:

    Where will I be based?

    Roles will be predominantly based in our Galway office, however there is flexibility to be located in one of our other offices if it is a better fit for you. In Ireland, RPS offices are located in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Sligo.

    How do I learn more and apply?

    To learn more about opportunities at RPS and to discuss further, please contact: Annette Patterson, Talent Acquisition Specialist at RPS, on

    To explore more roles and opportunities at RPS, please visit:

    Rehabilitation works to Cork's 'Shakey bridge' led by RPS, submitted for planning

    22 October 2018

    Rehabilitation works to Cork's 'Shakey bridge' led by RPS, submitted for planning

    Cork’s Shakey Bridge. Connecting Sunday’s Well with the Mardyke.

    Details of the proposed repair and rehabilitation works to Cork’s ‘Shakey bridge’ have recently been submitted for planning. RPS were appointed by Cork City Council in May 2018 to lead the design, tender process, contract administration and site supervision. The appointment follows an initial inspection and structural assessment undertaken by RPS in 2017 which highlighted the need for urgent intervention to address key structural issues to maintain continued safe use of the bridge and maximise its remaining service life.

    Daly’s bridge, as it is officially known, provides a pedestrian route over the northern channel of the River Lee between Sunday’s Well and Fitzgerald Park in the Mardyke area of Cork City. The suspension bridge is a well-known local landmark and its colloquial name ‘Shakey bridge’ derives from the lively movement of the deck under pedestrian loading. Indeed, pedestrians are known to skip, jump and run over the bridge to intentionally excite the structure while crossing and locals have expressed their wishes to retain the signature shake as part of any remedial works.

    Original Construction

    The bridge consists of a single 51m cable supported span with parallel steel latticed trusses supporting timber decking. The superstructure is suspended from solid steel hangers connected to twin wipe-rope cables, in turn suspended from saddles on each of the steel latticed towers. The bridge opened in 1927 to replace an earlier ferry crossing at the same location. It remains the only suspension bridge in Cork City and is the only surviving bridge of its type in Ireland. It is included on the Record of Protected Structures and the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

    Historic photograph of Daly’s bridge, circa 1930s

    The bridge was part-funded by local butter merchant & margarine manufacturer James Daly, whose company exported Irish butter all over the world. It was designed by Cork City Engineer S.W. Farrington with steelwork provided by London based David Rowell & Co of Westminster. Rowell's steel suspension bridges comprised a kit-of-parts, with up to thirty built across the British Empire at locations including Burma, Falkland Islands, India, New Zealand and Chile.

    Works Proposals & Next Steps

    Proposed repair and rehabilitation works are cognisant of the principles of conservation and include the following:

    Phased dismantling of the latticed deck for removal off-site for grit-blasting, repair & repainting;

    Temporary working platforms for full encapsulation to the steel towers for grit-blasting, repair & repainting in-situ;

    Replacement of suspension cables;

    Replacement of timber decking;

    Upgrade of northern & southern approaches, including parapets, lighting, landscaping & surfacing;

    Feature lighting of the bridge;

    Restore original details and features at the bridge, particularly where alterations to the character of the bridge have been made since 1927.

    Funding has been allocated by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to undertake the project. Pending a satisfactory outcome to the planning process, it is envisaged that a contractor will be appointed in December 2018 with completion anticipated by August 2019.

    Michael Minehane

    Engineering Project of the Year nomination for RPS’ Shannon Airport Runway Rehabilitation

    17 October 2018

    Engineering Project of the Year nomination for RPS’ Shannon Airport Runway Rehabilitation

    The Shannon Airport Runway Rehabilitation project, designed by RPS, has been nominated for the Engineering Project of the year at the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2018.

    Rewarding Excellence

    Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards, held in association with ESB, are presented annually to recognise the achievements of Engineers who have demonstrated exceptional engineering skills in their work. The Engineering Project of the Year Award recognises the highest level of achievement in the engineering field and provides peer recognition of outstanding engineering work, be it a large or small project.

    A Public Vote

    The Engineering Project of the Year is awarded following a public vote by the Irish public for what they consider to be the best project. The deadline for voting is Midnight, Friday November 2nd.

    Vote for RPS in the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards

    Rehabilitating the Runway

    Having been retained by Shannon Airport Authority, RPS carried out a detailed design, tender and site supervision programme for works on the 2,400m of Ireland’s longest runway with the support of a contracting partner Lagan Asphalt. RPS used its extensive aviation experience to design an economic and grooved marshall asphalt runway, complete with new sustainable LED aeronautical ground lighting.

    RPS point cloud scan survey of Shannon Airport Runway

    Innovative procurement and contractual arrangements were employed to ensure that the project was completed within very tight night time possession windows and project delivery timelines.

    The success of the project, which included the laying of approximately 60,000 tonnes of asphalt in tight night time windows over a six-month period, has set the benchmark for runway rehabilitation projects in Ireland. The programme of work was delivered ahead of time and within budget.

    The NEC 3-Option B contract and ECI process employed by RPS on the Shannon project was very successful and has since been followed by Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK) for their current runway rehabilitation. This demonstrates its status as a robust and capable process that future projects can adopt.

    Impact of the project

    The completion of this project will ensure continued safe aviation operations at Shannon Airport for the next 25 years. This is a huge economic boost given the €3.6 billion in economic activity the airport underpins in the region.

    Economic impact of Shannon Airport Runway Rehabilitation
    RPS authors national Plastics Packaging Strategy

    25 September 2018

    RPS authors national Plastics Packaging Strategy

    RPS has prepared a national Packaging Recycling Strategy for Repak to assist with the achievement of the European Plan on plastic packaging in the Circular Economy. The Strategy was published on 19th September 2018 at an event attended by 180 attendees.

    Under the European Commission Plan, Ireland must increase reuse and recycling of plastics from 36% of all plastic packaging waste to 50% by 2025 and 55% by 2030. To achieve these new reuse and recycling targets, waste plastic packaging recycling in Ireland will have to increase from 98,238 tonnes to circa 175,824 tonnes by 2030.

    The 48-page document contains 35 proposed actions and highlights the significant challenges in meeting the 2030 targets. It acknowledges that the issue is complex and that there are gaps in the information between the EPA Plastics Packaging Waste Data and Repak’s member data, requiring a new and dynamic policy environment.

    Key actions recommended in the report are that government would establish a plastic packaging working group and for Repak to review its member’s fee structure so that placing items that are easier to recycle on the market will be incentivised. It recommends that a national communications committee be established so that messaging on how to recycle is consistent and co-ordinated throughout the country.

    Significantly, the document proposes a ‘Plastic Pledge’ for Repak member companies, committing producers to reducing their complex packaging, using more recyclable material in their packaging and embracing eco-design when introducing new products. The report also recommends the establishment of an eco-design workshop for new plastic products, as 80% of the sustainability of a plastic product comes from the design.

    Repak’s strategy aims to assist Ireland in meeting its EU targets and support the circular economy in a cost-effective manner, while promoting the design and production of plastic products that optimises use and recycling. Repak estimates that it will require €200 million of investment across the public and private sectors to achieve the recycling targets over the period of the strategy.

    The two-phase plastics strategy prioritises better design of plastics packaging, increased reuse and recycling, advocates for better consumer education and calls for improved data flows and evidence.


    Phase 1 (2018 to 2020) proposes that all stakeholders should work on closing information gaps and adopt a framework for implementable actions. Phase 2 (2021-2030) will see Repak publish a fully-costed revised detailed strategy recommending further measures to meet the targets, based on further evidence based on evidence gather in the initial phase.


    Olivier Gaillot

    Conor McGovern

    RPS showcased as a Giant by TV series

    11 September 2018

    RPS showcased as a Giant by TV series

    RPS interviewed on Ulster Giants – catch it on ITV hub.

    The keenly anticipated Ulster Giants episode on 3D and VR technology screened in Northern Ireland last night and is available to view on ITV hub here: .

    The television series celebrates ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) 200 and Northern Ireland’s civil engineers. This last show highlights how cutting edge technology like 3D Imaging and Virtual Reality is being used to help civil engineers and designers plan with ever greater efficiency and safety.

    In this episode, RPS’ Marketing and Graphics Manager Stephen Henderson and Managing Director Michael Shaw speak to the program’s presenters on our use of technology, Immersive Modelling and Innovation discussing how these technologies aid our engineers, planners and scientists.

    RPS Marketing Manager Stephen Henderson takes a virtual look at project design

    Stephen Henderson

    See also: Remastering the future: bringing virtual reality into design projects

    €23.5m contract signed for major Dinish Island quay extension

    04 September 2018

    €23.5m contract signed for major Dinish Island quay extension

    Image: Pedersen Focus

    The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., attended RPS offices in Cork for the signing of a contract for a €23.5 million, 216m long quay development project and associated works on Dinish Island, Castletownbere. Castletownbere Fishery Harbour Centre is one of the six designated Fishery Harbour Centres which are owned, managed and maintained by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

    In addition to doubling of the Dinish Island facility through the provision of 216 metres of extra landing berth, the project will deliver approximately 2.2 acres of highly usable reclaimed quay storage area, two new major breakwater structures at the entrance to the harbour, the dredging of the navigation channel to -6.5mCD and the dredging of a berthing pocket to -8.5mCD to further facilitate landings by vessels up to100m length overall (LOA).

    RPS has been the lead consultant for DAFM throughout the planning, design and procurement phases of this project. The multi-disciplinary service delivery has been led by the Belfast maritime team with various other teams from the Belfast and Cork offices providing specialist PSDP, environmental and planning services.

    Welcoming the signing of the contract with contractor L&M Keating Ltd, the Minister said “This is a very significant investment for the South West and will be a big boost to the Beara Peninsula and West Cork in general. The Project will double the workable quay space on Dinish Island in Castletownbere and will enable significant expansion in fish landings, on shore processing and general marine activity at this major port.

    The project now enters an 18 month construction phase which will be administered and supervised by RPS.

    RPS’ Mark McConnell, Director, Maritime Infrastructure & Ocean Energy and Maria Lombard, Director, Planning Environment attend the signing of the Dinish Quay Extension Contract.

    Contact: Mark McConnell, Director - Maritime Infrastructure and Ocean Energy

    RPS progresses construction of motorway M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy

    26 July 2018

    RPS progresses construction of motorway M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy

    RPS progresses construction of motorway M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy

    The €400 million M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy PPP project in County Wexford linking Dublin to Rosslare and the South East Region comprises a new four lane motorway from the end of the Gorey Bypass at Clogh to the townland of Scurlockbush, south of Enniscorthy. The scheme also includes a bypass of the N30 to the west of Enniscorthy and a link road to the N80. It will provide a high quality, safe link within the South East region and ease congestion bypassing Ferns, Camolin and Enniscorthy.

    M11 Enniscorthy JV (BAM / Dragados)

    RPS, as part of an RPS/Arup Joint Venture, is providing Designer and PSDP services to M11 Enniscorthy Joint Venture (BAM/Dragados) who are the Construction JV for the project. RPS has overall design responsibility for the northern 21.5km section of the main motorway. Our remit includes two grade separated interchanges at Frankfort and Ballydawmore (N30/N80 link), one railway crossing, 10 road overbridges, two road underbridges, 20 accommodation underpasses and 21 large box culverts. RPS is also providing the Project Ecologist services for the construction stage.

    The new route will include the provision of approximately 27 km of motorway. Approximately 8 km of single carriageway will also be constructed to bypass Enniscorthy to the west and a further 4 km of dual carriageway link road will connect the existing N11 / N80 junction north of Enniscorthy to the M11 mainline. The project includes two grade separated junctions, three major bridges (over rivers and railway line) and various road overbridge and underbridge structures.

    The preparatory works for the new road pavement, including the earthworks, drainage and ground improvement layers, have now been completed. Work is now commencing on the actual pavement works on M11, N30 and N80 Link Road, and in constructing all the local side roads that cross over or under the mainline.

    The new Slaney Bridge, the longest on the project and crossing both the River Slaney and the Dublin-Wexford railway line, has seen huge progress in recent months. A timelapse video by Wexford County Council (view here) shows the installation of the 12 steel beams, most of which were lifted at night to avoid disruption to train services. Currently the steel reinforcement of the deck is being prepared and the concreting of the deck will be performed in five stages covering a total surface of 3,600 square meters.

    The project involves construction in greenfield locations and in semi-urban areas, with adjacent housing, commercial and industrial premises and other infrastructure in some locations. The project crosses the Slaney River Valley, which is designated a candidate special area of conservation (cSAC) and proposed Natural Heritage Area (pNHA).


    Michael Noonan

    Mark Condron

    Rehabilitation of Runway 06-24 at Shannon Airport

    17 July 2018

    Rehabilitation of Runway 06-24 at Shannon Airport

    RPS recently project managed the rehabilitation of runway 06-24 at Shannon Airport. In 2017, Shannon Airport carried out the resurfacing of 75 per cent of its main runway, within extremely tight night-time possession windows. The €14 million investment ensures the integrity of the runway for the next 20 years.

    Image from the point cloud scan survey, which RPS carried out over five nights in early 2016.

    Shannon Airport is located adjacent to the Shannon estuary. Its main runway known as – 06-24 – at 3,199m in length, is the longest runway in Ireland and is capable of handling all aircraft types. In 2017, the airport handled 1.74 million passengers. The airport is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no curfews, slots or noise restrictions.

    Commercially, Shannon airport is part of Shannon Group plc. It is operated by the Shannon Airport Authority (SAA). In 2012, SAA split from Dublin and Cork airports and operates as a stand-alone company. In order to finance the vital runway rehabilitation works, Shannon Airport arranged a loan facility from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

    The first phase of the runway rehabilitation process was the completion of a pavement evaluation survey. This was carried out in 2015. The survey concluded that the runway was structurally acceptable, taking into account future design traffic.

    RPS Group arranged for a surveyor to carry out a detailed topographical survey. The availability of access to the runway for a detailed survey was extremely limited. Given the tight window of availability, RPS chose to carry out a point cloud survey of the runway, over five nights, in early 2016.

    The Porous Friction Course (PFC) and underlying asphalt material, which extend to approximately 75 per cent of the runway length, were in excess of 30 years old. Both these material layers had already exceeded their intended design life. The preferred technical paving solution was Grooved Marshall Asphalt (GMA).

    The essential requirements for the project were to:

    Produce a runway with adequate pavement bearing capacity for a lifespan of 20 years;

    Create a runway surface with a uniform surface and good wet friction characteristics for landing aircraft;

    Provide good crack resistance so as to minimise any future foreign object debris (FOD) risk, and;

    Provide new energy-efficient LED aeronautical ground lighting (AGL) for the CAT I edge lighting and the CATII lighting.

    Other key features of the design included laying new cabling and installing new lighting pots for the replacement LED AGL. The drainage channel and gullies along the edge of the runway had to be reformed and rebuilt.

    Work on the runway commenced before the end of April 2017. The contractor had, on average, 90 workers and 70 vehicles at work every night. The available work window was between 11.30pm and 4.30am, five nights a week, from Tuesday to Saturday.

    Work had to cease at 4.30am every morning so as to allow for a FOD safety sweep of the runway. It was inspected and then formally handed back to air traffic control prior to the landing of the first transatlantic flight from New York at 6am.

    The pavement overlay was laid in three layers: base, binder and wearing course. The contractor laid only one type of course per night, so as to avoid any confusion with respect to material types.

    The upgraded runway was completed by the end of September 2017, ahead of schedule and under budget.


    Eoin Colgan