HyderTOBIN Consultants, a joint venture between TOBIN Consulting Engineers and Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd were appointed by Galway City Council in 2006 as Design Consultant for the Bishop O’Donnell Road / Seamus Quirke Road Improvement Scheme. This project involved the upgrading of the existing single carriageway road to dual carriageway, incorporating bus lanes. The scheme was one of the first in the country to utilise the new National Cycle Manual in the design of cycle facilities.
The scope of the works included:
- Construction of 1.6km dual carriageway, including bi-directional Quality Bus Corridor;
- Design of four traffic signalled junctions;
- On-road and off-road cycle facilities;
- Pedestrian facilities, including controlled crossings;
- Major diversion and upgrade of services along the route;
- Design of road drainage network including attenuation system;
- Installation of public lighting;
- Design of traffic signage and road markings.
In 2002 Galway City Council published an EIS for the upgrade of the Seamus Quirke Road / Bishop O’Donnell Road corridor to the dual carriageway.
Subsequent to An Board Pleanála’s approval of the original scheme, the strategic aims of Galway City Council were enhanced including the strategic aim to ‘Provide for a built and natural environment that is of high quality and that contributes to providing a good quality of life for residents and visitors and affords sustainable transportation opportunities’.
In 2006, Galway City Council commissioned a Strategic Bus Study for Galway City and its Environs. The strategy proposed a network of bus corridors and bus priority works throughout the city and included the proposal for the provision of bus lanes on the Seamus Quirke Road / Bishop O’Donnell Road. The bus lane improvements formed part of the proposed Orbital Corridor which linked the residential areas around Salthill and Knocknacarra to the Industrial / Business Parks to the North and East of the City. The scheme has facilitated and enhanced the existing bus routes in the area.
In 2006, HyderTOBIN Consultants commenced design work on the scheme, taking on board An Board Pleanála’s conditions to remove roundabouts and install traffic signals, and to incorporate bus lanes consistent with the City Council’s updated sustainable strategies.
The Scheme was delayed between 2007 and 2009 when funding was not available to bring to Construction. However, in 2009, funding commitments became available and the scheme recommenced to complete the detailed design.
At that time, the NTA had introduced a draft of their new National Cycle Manual. TOBIN liaised closely with the NTA to develop details of cycle design elements for inclusion into the scheme which were incorporated into the final adoption of the NTA’s National Cycle Manual.
The detailed design and construction stages involved consultations with local stakeholders, including the Galway Cycle Campaign, Utility Companies, Local Businesses, Bus Companies, Emergency Services and the National Council for the Blind, Ireland.
One of the key constraints along the corridor was the high density of underground services. This congestion was made worse when the ESB could not afford to wait for the road scheme funding to become available for construction so had to progress with the upgrade of the ‘Salthill 110KV Substation’ along the Seamus Quirke Road, which included the installation of their HV Interconnector bank of ducts (12-way ducts in one trench) between ‘Galway 110KV Station’ east of the city and the ‘Salthill 110KV Substation’ and then between the ‘Salthill 110KV Substation’ and Rahoon Road, including a 32-way duct bank across the Seamus Quirke Road.
When the road scheme was about to start, TOBIN / GCC agreed to include additional ESB ducts into the Works Contract to minimise the impact on the public.
Ground Penetration Radar investigation, calibrated by slit trenches, was used in advance of the Works to identify the location of underground services and this was incorporated into the Information Pack, reducing the risk of unforeseen services.
The scheme included the design of a new surface water drainage network, designed to incorporate Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDs) to mimic the natural catchment processes as closely as possible by introducing two attenuation tank systems, located off the road area on adjacent parkland.
An existing piped culvert limited the cover available to services including the ESBs HV interconnector under the proposed bus lane, so the piped culvert was replaced with a wider but shallower box culvert designed by TOBIN and included in the scheme.
Ground Investigations, in advance of the works, highlighted that sections of the scheme would be constructed on peat and soft ‘marl’ soils. The Works Requirements included measures for the excavation and subsequent backfill with acceptable material, with one very deep area of up to 8m of soft soils included as a Contractor Designed element within the Works Requirements in order for the contractor to value engineer a low-cost solution.
The design of the Traffic Signal Controlled Junctions took account of Galway City Council’s aim to develop an Urban Traffic Controlled (UTC) system around the City. The details in the Works Requirements included the necessary Spot Units and CCTV requirements to allow the Scheme to be incorporated into the UTC network (now operational around parts of the City).
Scope of Services
The Scope of Service provided include:
- Project Management, including financial and funding updates;
- Procurement of Topographical Survey;
- Procurement, Administration and Site Supervision of Site Investigations;
- Procurement of Stage 2 and Stage 3 Road Safety Audits;
- Stakeholder Consultations;
- Preliminary Design of a Pedestrian Footbridge (eventually removed from the Contract due to the replacement of roundabouts with traffic signals incorporating At-Grade Crossing Facilities);
- Preparation of Detailed Design comprising:
- Road Design, Bus Lanes, Cycletracks & Cycle Lanes;
- Junction Design (Traffic Signal Designs, incl. UTC specification);
- Junction Assessment;
- Pedestrian Facilities (Guardrails, Pelican & Zebra Crossings);
- Earthworks (significant soft soils);
- Drainage (including attenuation tanks and box culvert);
- Utility diversions and new ducting;
- Pavement Design;
- Traffic Signs and Road Markings;
- Public Lighting Design;
- Structures (Culvert, Boundary Walls and Retaining Walls);
- Accommodation Works;
- Pre-Qualification Process & Assessment;
- Tender Procurement & Assessment;
- Quantity Surveying;
- Contract Documents (Public Works Contract for Civil Engineering Works Designed by the Employer);
- Contract Administration;
- Construction Supervision;
- Project Supervisor Design Process;
- Design Process Traffic Management Plan;
- Land Acquisition Drawings.
In the then economic environment, many Contractors were bidding below cost to secure turnover and subsequently relying on contractual claims to breakeven. This scheme was no exception and resulted in an aggressive approach to Contractors Claims during the Contract.
One dispute was taken to Conciliation, where TOBIN prepared determination reports, including Risk Assessments in accordance with the Department of Finance Guidelines to assess the risks arising in a structured way so that appropriate determinations were made, taking account of the Contract risk allocations. The resulting agreement to the Conciliation was consistent with the Risk Assessment determination.
Other Claims and Change Orders were determined throughout the Works, with a final Risk Assessment undertaken on all disputed determinations (87no. in total at the end of the Works) that focused negotiations leading to an agreement of the Final Account between the Galway City Council and the Contractor.
TOBIN fulfilled the duties of the Project Supervisor Design Stage.