Archived News

    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

    RPS Ecologists supervise the construction of the Connemara Greenway

    10 July 2018

    RPS Ecologists supervise the construction of the Connemara Greenway

    The Connemara Greenway Project is a 56km walking/cycle track on the dismantled Galway to Clifden railway line from Oughterard to Clifden.

    From Left: Kurt Lydon (Galway County Council), Colin Heaslip and Shelia Murphy (RPS) and Seamus Walsh (Galway County Council)

    The greenway project has been developed in an extremely sensitive location, running almost entirely through European Sites (SACs and SPAs). It required extensive surveying and assessment of impacts to seven Annex I habitats and five Annex II species.

    RPS has been providing environmental consultancy services to Galway County Council since 2011. Our team has prepared the constraints study, environmental impact statement, natura impact statement and planning application which was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in May 2012. The project also required considerable consultation with the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Inland Fisheries Ireland, landowners and members of the public.

    Paula Kearney, Chartered Ecologist with CIEEM and RPS Project Manager, was an expert witness at the Oral Hearing in December 2012. Consent for the greenway was granted in March 2013.

    Due to the environmental sensitivity of the receiving environment, RPS Ecologists Sheila Murphy and Colin Heaslip were appointed as Ecological Clerk of Works for weekly monitoring during the construction works.

    The project is being driven by local community groups in Clifden, Recess and Oughterard with support from Fáilte Ireland, Galway County Council and Forum Connemara Ltd. The recently completed 6km section of the route between Athry and Cloonbeg, was opened on Monday 28th May by Galway County Cathaoirleach Eileen Mannion.

    RPS is currently providing expert environmental consultancy services on a number of other national greenway projects including the Lough Leane Loop Trail, the North Kerry Greenway and the Galway to Oughterard Greenway.


    Paula Kearney

    Planning Permission Granted for M28 Motorway in Cork

    06 July 2018

    Planning Permission Granted for M28 Motorway in Cork

    An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for the €220m M28 Cork to Ringaskiddy Project in Cork. Since early 2014, RPS has worked on behalf of Cork County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland to bring this key infrastructure project through route selection, design and statutory approvals stages.

    Route Map – M28 Cork to Ringaskiddy Project

    This Strategic Infrastructure Development (SID) project is important for the development of Cork City, facilitating the relocation of Port of Cork’s container terminal from Tivoli on the northern bank of the River Lee to Ringaskiddy. This in turn will free up their lands in the city for residential and commercial development. The project will increase the capacity and safety of the route which links Cork City to Ringaskiddy.

    The project, which will run from the Bloomfield Junction on the South Ring Road to Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour, involves the construction of 10.9km of mainline motorway from Bloomfield to Barnahely. It also includes 1.5km of mainline single carriageway ‘protected road’ from Barnahely to east of Ringaskiddy; 4.8km of new and realigned regional and local roads; as well as one full grade-separated interchange, three partial grade-separated junctions and three at-grade roundabouts. Four new underbridges are also required to allow the M28 pass over existing roads. The project will provide footpaths and cycle facilities for local communities and includes a new Service Area within the Port of Cork lands at Ringaskiddy that will primarily serve as a refuelling and rest area for commercial vehicles.

    RPS has provided planning, environmental and engineering design services. We have prepared the Environmental Impact Statement and Natura Impact Statement and provided Expert Witnesses at the Oral Hearing on road geometry; surface water drainage; traffic and transportation; landscape and visual; air and climate; noise and vibration; terrestrial and aquatic ecology; socio-economic and community; agricultural land uses; soils, geology, hydrogeology and material assets.

    The preferred route has been contentious as both the northern and southern end of the mainline are routed close to residential areas. With local communities concerned about potential noise impacts, our acoustic experts undertook extensive noise monitoring, route and option assessments based on acoustic and vibration sensitivities. Our route noise modelling identified mitigation requirements and included design of mitigation measures including barriers.


    Liam Barry

    23rd June: International Women in Engineering Day

    27 June 2018

    23rd June: International Women in Engineering Day

    International Women in Engineering Day 2018 was held on 23rd June last. To mark the occasion and celebrate the diverse range of opportunities the industry offers, some of our inspiring engineers were interviewed on RPS Reflections.

    Katarzyna Nikonowicz (Dublin), Brenda McEvoy (Cork) and Méabh Connolly (Galway) all participated and offered some insight in to life as an engineer.

    Katarzyna discusses family influences, the importance of practical experience and the benefits of seeing her water infrastructure projects progress: “I am always building my experience and taking on more responsibilities; I take my experience from one project and bring it to add value to the next project. Although the projects may often seem similar, each of them is unique.”

    Brenda talks about her work for the EU Commission on the European Green Capital Award as well as the Haulbowline Island Remediation Project and the value of communication: “I think clients expect us, as scientists and engineers, to be able to communicate our projects to the public. The softer skills like communication in engineering are sometimes undervalued but often they are the elements of projects our clients can really relate to. On a broader level, skills like communication also help the public to understand the work that engineers do. This is also very important for inspiring our engineers of the future.”

    Méabh discusses the switch from site to office and her involvement in major transport infrastructure and structural projects: “I like working on big projects and physically seeing the change they bring about. On a recent trip to London, I drove on the M18 to Shannon and flew into Terminal 2 at Heathrow. They are both landmark projects that I spent a number of years working on in different capacities.”

    When asked about gender balance in engineering, all three noted that they see themselves as engineers and not ‘female engineers’. Gender has not been a defining aspect or held them back during their studies or career. Rather than promoting engineering to girls specifically, the general consensus is that we should be promoting the profession generally and building understanding of the diverse work that engineers do.

    “I think visibility of a diverse engineering population is important so people don’t feel they are ‘going against the grain’ in becoming an engineer. I didn’t really realise how few women were in civil engineering and construction until I became involved myself but it has never been a problem.”

    “Certainly, I would like to see more women in construction, but women who are truly interested in the field, and not just to even the ratio.”

    Read articles in full on RPS Reflections

    RPS Dublin & Cork offices achieve BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification

    30 May 2018

    RPS Dublin & Cork offices achieve BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification

    The Dublin and Cork RPS offices have been awarded BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification by BRE Global today, following a successful audit process. We are now certified across all regions, recognising our ability to deliver projects in a BIM Level 2 environment for our clients.

    RPS staff are presented with certificates (left to right): Ronan Kenny, Michal Otreba, Mark Costello, Paul Oakley (Director BIM BRE), Bryan Coyle, Lisa Haverty

    BRE Global is a UKAS accredited certification body that assesses a business, its BIM policy and capability as defined within PAS 1192-2:2013 and PAS 91. It also assesses its ability to meet the requirements of an employer and carry out a BIM capability assessment. The scheme has been designed to enable BIM certified businesses demonstrate their compliance with the PAS91-2013 section 4.2 and avoid having to provide evidence of competence each time they tender.

    The certification process involved an online application, followed by a desktop assessment and onsite audits over two days in April to confirm compliance.

    This certification was awarded to our Galway office back in November 2015, and the latest certifications recognise huge progress for RPS in achieving the standard nationally.

    “It is a great achievement for RPS to have extended this accreditation across all Irish offices. Staff in Dublin and Cork completed our RPS / GMIT multi-award winning Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM last autumn and have now demonstrated to BRE Global that we have the systems and expertise across our Irish offices to design major building and infrastructure projects in Level 2 BIM for our wide range of clients.” said Mark Costello, RPS Director of BIM.

    Mark Costello

    Robotics Innovation Project Highly Commended at NCE100 Awards

    24 May 2018

    Robotics Innovation Project Highly Commended at NCE100 Awards

    RPS and SGN were Highly Commended at last night’s NCE100 Awards at the Troxy, London for the multi-award winning SGN NIC Robotics Innovation project. RPS staff from Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands attended.

    Andre de Wit, PJ Rudden, Michel de Vre, Richard Bingham and Daniel Hogan

    We were shortlisted in three of the event’s award categories:

    Smart Operator award for the SGN NIC Robotics Innovation project with SGN and ULC Robotics for the design, realisation and field testing of robotic engineering solutions for non-intrusive repair and maintenance in live gas mains.

    Innovation in Project Management award for our Digital Construction consultancy achievements and innovation including our Virtual Reality representations of civil engineering and development projects, and wider client and public engagement.

    Excellence in Climate Resilience Award for the Tree Aid Bongo River Trees project where we funded and provided pro bono services to help realise a sustainable water management and replanting solution and management program.

    PJ Rudden, RPS Director Marketing and Gas attended from Dublin for the SGN Robotics project, joined by Richard Bingham, RPS Associate and Daniel Hogan, RPS Senior Scientist from Belfast on behalf of Stephen Henderson, RPS Marketing & Graphics Manager, and Dr. Mike Shaw, RPS Managing Director Northern Ireland for our Digital Construction services, and Project Leaders Michel de Vré and André de Wit from our Amsterdam and Leerdam offices respectively for the Tree Aid Bongo River Trees project. This was a huge project contributed to by a range of engineering, environmental, mapping and ecology professionals from across our UK and Dutch offices including Richard Bingham and Daniel Hogan.

    PJ Rudden

    RPS Receives ISO 27001 Certification from NSAI

    09 May 2018

    RPS Receives ISO 27001 Certification from NSAI

    RPS IT Directors Connie Wiseman and Donogh McGrath were presented with RPS Ireland’s ISO 27001 accreditation certificate by Minister of State Pat Breen TD at an official ceremony at National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) headquarters in Dublin last week.

    Pat Breen TD, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection; Geraldine Larkin, NSAI Chief Executive; Connie Wiseman and Donogh McGrath, RPS IT Directors (Image: NSAI / Conor McCabe)

    With the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force later this month, becoming certified to this world-class standard for information security is a significant step in proving our compliance.

    The ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management System provides requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving an information security management system. It provides organisations with a robust framework to manage their information – both on and offline. Our Irish offices worked through the planning and implementation of the system in 2016 and 2017 and following a successful audit by the NSAI in late 2017, we were recommended for accreditation.

    ISO 27001 can provide a basis for evidence of compliance with the GDPR and provides a pathway to compliance regarding risk assessment, breach notification and asset management. GDPR will apply across all EU Member States from 25th May and has significant implications for businesses operating within the EU market.

    Connie Wiseman, RPS IT Director said “This is a huge achievement for RPS. It puts us in a strong position as we approach the GDPR deadline of 25th May. Achieving ISO 27001 certification is confirmation for our public and private sector clients that we can deliver and manage their projects securely.”

    Key to implementing the new system was communicating to staff that every RPS employee is responsible for information security. The process has involved changing habits in relation to information security and implementing procedures across all offices to protect sensitive information and personal identifiable information (PII) in line with GDPR. Project managers and teams follow improved procedures to ensure the security needs and expectations of all the stakeholders on their projects are considered and all PII is protected.

    “While the GDPR is the largest overhaul of data privacy in decades, it is important that businesses do not fear it. Indeed, for Irish companies, being able to demonstrate compliance with the Regulation will offer competitive advantage in domestic, European and International markets.” said Pat Breen TD, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection.

    Connie Wiseman

    2018 Public Sector Award goes to the EU Commission for European Green Capital

    01 May 2018

    2018 Public Sector Award goes to the EU Commission for European Green Capital

    The European Commission has won the 2018 Public Sector Magazine Award for its European Green Capital Award initiative. It was presented recently in Dublin to DG Environment Director General Daniel Calleja Crespo by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy TD.

    DG Calleja was accompanied by RPS who is the EU Commission Secretariat for the European Green Capital Award (EGCA). The Secretariat is responsible for the technical, environmental and communications management of the awards.

    Pictured at the award presentation in Dublin Castle: PJ Rudden RPS Director, Minister Eoghan Murphy TD, Daniel Calleja Crespo Director General DG Environment, and Louise Connolly RPS Project Manager (Image: Paul Holmes Photography)

    The Award was made to the EU Commission for its 10 years in initiating and growing the success of the European Green Capital Award. This is an annual award set up by the EU Commission in 2008 for a city that excels in sustainable urban living, has ambitious future goals and is capable of acting as a role model for other cities. RPS has been secretariat for 7 of the last 10 years.

    The European Green Capital Award (EGCA) is open to cities with a population over 100,000. Due to its success a similar competition, the European Green Leaf Award (EGLA) was created in 2015 for cities with populations of 20,000 and up to 100,000 inhabitants.

    Since 2008 there have been 10 EGCA winning cities – Stockholm, Sweden (2010); Hamburg, Germany (2011); Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain (2012); Nantes, France (2013); Copenhagen, Denmark (2014); Bristol, UK (2015); Ljubljana, Slovenia (2016); Essen, Germany (2017); Nijmegen, Netherlands (2018) and Oslo, Norway (2019).

    To date there have been five winners of the European Green Leaf drawn from five Member States. The cities of Mollet del Vallès, Spain and Torres Vedras, Portugal were awarded the Green Leaf Award in 2015, Galway, Ireland, in 2017 and Leuven, Belgium and Växjö, Sweden, in 2018.

    Cities are initially technically assessed by an international panel of experts on 12 environmental indicators for the EGCA and six topic areas for the EGLA. Shortlisted cities then present to an international Jury chaired by the European Commission with members drawn from representative bodies including the Committee of the Regions, Covenant of Mayors, European Parliament, Eurocities, and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.

    ‘This annual competition among cities has grown to be a very significant environmental initiative across the Member States from north to south and from east to west’ says Director General Daniel Calleja Crespo.

    ‘Each city has its own unique character and environmental problems to address but by sharing these issues and solutions that learning is transferred from city to city. Examples of issues addressed include the need to adapt to future climate change, to better manage our water resources and transform waste management into circular economy solutions. This Award celebrates the many cities who have entered the competition, have been shortlisted and who have won – all of whom are determined to exchange ideas, learn more sustainable practices, to inspire others and to collaborate in the future as a network of European cities’ he concluded.

    To date some 86 cities have entered the awards drawn from 26 Member States which indicates a high level of engagement over the past 10 years. We will continue to build on this enthusiasm of cities to be leaders of urban sustainability and to inspire other cities.

    The European Green Capital 2020 award winner will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in June 2018 from a shortlist of three cities – Ghent (Belgium), Lahti (Finland) and Lisbon (Portugal).The European Green Leaf 2019 award will also be announced at the same event in Nijmegen.

    Louise Connolly

    ACEI Excellence Award Win for M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project

    10 April 2018

    ACEI Excellence Award Win for M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project

    The M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project in Scotland has won the ACEI Design Excellence Award 2018 for Overseas Projects (Large). The award was presented at the ACEI Awards Dinner in Dublin on Friday last.

    ACEI President Tony Horan with Joint Winners of the Overseas Award – William McGrath, Eamon Cox & Willie Madden (RPS). (Image: Chris Bellew, Fennell Photography)

    This £500 million project upgrades the core of Scotland’s motorway network. By improving connection times between Glasgow and Edinburgh, it will boost Scotland’s economy, as well as reducing emissions and improving road safety. The project comprises a new three-lane motorway between Baillieston and Newhouse to complete the M8, upgrades to the M73 and M74, and the upgrading of one of Scotland’s busiest junctions – the Raith Interchange.

    RPS staff celebrate award success at ACEI Awards 2018: Mark Condron, John Shalloe, Eamon Cox, Tim Patterson, Michael Noonan & Gerry Carty

    RPS acted as the contractor’s designer (to Ferrovial-Lagan) on behalf of Transport Scotland for this major DBFO project. RPS undertook detailed design of highways, bridges, other highway structures, geotechnical and lighting. Our design team faced a unique engineering challenge at Raith Interchange, which required upgrading within a very confined footprint, under live traffic conditions with over 100,000 vehicle movements per day. We designed a new elevated free-flow rotary above the existing roundabout and an underpass beneath it – all in a flood plain, adjacent to an area of environmental sensitivity, coupled with massive artesian pressures and variable ground conditions. As parts of the project are located within a flood plain, detailed drainage design included a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS), with ponds designed to cater for the 1 in 100-year storm plus climate change.

    RPS also pioneered the use of building information modelling (BIM) technology on this project, achieving the first largescale implementation of Level 2 BIM on an infrastructural project in Ireland or the UK.

    “This design team of civil, structural and traffic management engineers, hydrogeologists and environmental scientists have worked collaboratively to achieve the optimum solution on this complex project – for the client, the local communities and the environment.” said Christy O’ Sullivan, RPS Project Manager.

    The M8 / M73 / M74 project was completed on time and within budget. Some key project figures include:

    25KM of carriageway built and upgraded

    418,000 trees and shrubs re-planted

    16KM of footways/cycleways

    43 new structures

    95% of on-site materials were recycled

    Christy O'Sullivan