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Geotechnical Engineering

The greatest risk in any construction project lies in the most variable substance on the planet – the ground beneath our feet.

RPS’ specialist engineers and geologists spend their careers making sense of these conditions, to ensure that your project is delivered safely, economically, innovatively and on time.

Our staff work effectively as part of multidisciplinary teams; evolving to the changing needs of even the most technically challenging projects. With an integrated approach and strong commercial awareness, we provide practical solutions using established cost benefit and value engineering principles to meet our clients' requirements. From initial concept, through investigation and design, to construction and validation, RPS is a leading geotechnical consultancy in all fields.

Our geotechnical design and assessment services include:

Comprehensive desk studies

Detailed intrusive geotechnical investigations

Foundation and pavement assessment and design

Ground improvement assessments

Slope stability assessments

Earthworks specifications

Contract procurement

Risks posed from coal mining

Gas protection measures

Landfill design and remediation

Engineering construction quality assurance

Contaminated land - investigation and remediation design

Case Studies

Corrib Onshore Gas Pipeline

Corrib Onshore Gas Pipeline

Shell E&P Ireland Ltd. (SEPIL)

RPS has met various geotechnical design challenges on the Corrib Project with practical solutions supported by detailed design calculations.

RPS has provided geotechnical input to the project in the following areas:

Site assessments including logging of geomorphological features

Management of ground investigations works (marine based and onshore)

Geotechnical input to the project EIS

Consideration of alternative construction methodologies

Compilation of a Geotechnical Risk Register

Interpretation of ground investigation information along the proposed tunnel route

Detailed geotechnical design of the tunnelling compound (>3.7ha), stone road (for sections of onshore pipeline in bog), tunnel reception pit (and its interface with the gas pipeline), landfall valve installation (LVI)

Miscellaneous geotechnical calculations (slope stability, settlement etc.)

Detailed materials balances for peat and stone for the project

Detailed design of sheet-piled trenches

Review of temporary works designs

Geotechnical support to SEPIL during construction

Construction began in July 2011 and was completed in December 2015. The Corrib Onshore Gas Pipeline won the Engineers Ireland Outstanding Project of the Year Award in 2016.

Galway Wind Park

 

 

RPS was geotechnical and drainage technical adviser to SSE Renewables / CGT for the construction of 58 wind turbines with an energy output capacity of 169MW at the Galway Wind Park.

RPS provided a full time on-site team of three technical specialists to advise SSE Renewables on the geotechnical and drainage works. Daily activities included design review, inspection of construction works, implementing the project quality assurance system and reporting of potential issues.

As the project progressed, RPS provided a full time civil site manager for the wind park. RPS was also independently commissioned by Grontmij/Sweco, designers to SSE/CGT, to inspect and certify the construction of the turbine foundations.

The construction of Galway Wind Park includes 35km of new access track, 25km of upgrades to existing track, 58 turbine foundations, two 100kV substations and 25km of 110kV underground cable.

The site is situated west of the N59 in Connemara and is largely peatland and conifer forest. The Connemara Bog Complex SPA and SAC are to the southwest of the site while one of the sites (Uggool) is located within the Oughterard District Bog NHA.

The green energy produced at Galway Wind Park will help to offset approximately 190,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year from fossil fuel generation. It will provide electricity for up to 84,000 homes, which is equivalent to almost 90% of the homes in County Galway.

M8 Raith Underpass

 

Image: courtesy of Lagan Ferrovial

 

RPS acted as the contractor’s designer on behalf of Transport Scotland for this major £400m DBFO project comprising a new M8 dual three-lane motorway section between Bailliestown and Newhouse, with three new grade separated motorway junctions and amendments to two existing motorway junctions.

The Raith Interchange is an extremely complex interchange of strategic importance to Scotland with over 100,000 vehicle movements per day. Designers faced a unique engineering challenge at Raith in developing a new elevated free flow rotary above the existing roundabout and the construction of an underpass beneath it, all in a flood plain adjacent to an area of environmental sensitivity, massive artesian pressures, variable ground conditions and live traffic conditions.

Earthworks for the underpass includes a propped secant pile cutting 600m long and 15m deep in loose sands and gravels under artesian conditions which required complex temporary works design and dewatering. The underpass, located in the Clyde floodplain, presented significant flotation problems requiring a dense array of ground anchors secured into bedrock. The design team of permanent and temporary works designers, structural and traffic management engineers, hydro-geologists and environmental scientists worked closely to achieve the optimum solution.

As part of the production of the GIR, we undertook a detailed desktop study of the available geotechnical information. This included 12 phases of ground investigation for the project, ground investigations from the 1960s for the original motorway construction, as built records, mining records, including coal authority reports, historic maps, contamination assessment reports for adjoining developments and other geological maps and memoirs.

The footprint of the M8/M73/M74 covers an area of dense historic mine workings, with a multitude of shafts/adits and worked out seams at shallow depths that posed a significant risk to the construction works. A programme of remediation, comprising extensive cavity probing and consolidation grouting was implemented prior to construction. The project was awarded the ACEI Design Excellence Award (Overseas) in 2018.