Dunkettle Interchange Upgrade, Ireland

Major junction reconfiguration in Cork, Ireland to improve capacity, safety and travel times

Dunkettle Interchange Upgrade, Ireland

Image credit: Transport Infrastructure Ireland

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) aimed to significantly improve the existing junction layout for all users, including the junction safety, operation and capacity at this strategically important interface. Located in an intertidal area of conservation with considerable important flora and fauna, all works had to be undertaken while maintaining full operation of the junction and adjacent railway line.

“Cork is a thriving, vibrant city, a location that is hugely attractive for investment and as a place to live and work. Infrastructure projects like the Dunkettle Interchange Upgrade are critical to contribute positively to the quality of life for the community, sustain investment and continue to ensure Cork’s position as a thriving city.”

Kate Kenny

Jacobs Senior Vice President and General Manager

  • 120 K

    Number of daily vehicles through the interchange

  • 0

    Downtime in junction operation during construction

  • 0

    Number of traffic signals on the interchange now

  • 13

    Years of Jacobs' involvement in this project

  • 2456

    Cubic meters of planings taken from local runway for reuse in temporary haul routes on site

  • 134274

    Cubic meters of earthworks fill taken from local housing projects for reuse on site

Over 12 years, Jacobs has been TII’s trusted consultant to cover a range of complex challenges on the Dunkettle Interchange project. These have spanned across a range of delivery phases, each with their own unique requirements.

Working in partnership with Cork County Council and Cork City Council to deliver the Dunkettle Interchange Upgrade Scheme, TII’s mission is to deliver transport infrastructure and services, which contribute to the quality of life for the people of Ireland and support the country's economic growth.

The challenge

The volume of traffic and outdated junction configuration was severely impacting traffic into and out of Cork at the intersection of four key regional routes. The importance of the interchange to regional traffic was equaled by the sensitivity of the surrounding flood plan and foreshore, sensitive intertidal ponds which manage daily sea level changes, and the Cork Harbour Special Protection Area which the site sits in. In addition, Jacobs supported in ensuring the site work could start and continue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with all associated on-site health and safety requirements.

The solution

The upgrade included a series of direct road links, a grade separated junction arrangement to the east of the existing Dunkettle Interchange, four new roundabouts, 52 structures of various forms, intelligent transport systems, pedestrian and cyclist facilities, and several culverts where the scheme crosses watercourses or intertidal areas.

From the very start of the early design, statutory consenting and regulatory body consultations, our approach has been full and open engagement with all necessary teams. This has built a project ecosystem which encourages direct communication, early engagement around risks, and an openness to challenge how best to deliver a project of this scale and complexity.

Acting as the employer’s representative on site, our strong client relationship enabled all project and business risks to be dealt with pragmatically. Similarly, we worked collaboratively with the contractor and their designer, focusing at all times on the key project objectives.  Crucially, our site team invested in building a relationship with all local stakeholders and the wider users of the interchange throughout construction. This communication and engagement focused on early sharing of works plans, timely traffic impact updates and being particularly conscious of and sensitive to the impact our scheme may have on the local population.

Our key technical challenges related to the complex intertidal drainage regime already in place, the challenge around the sensitivity of the current drainage and land layout to flooding, the difficult ground conditions our geotechnical team had to work with, and the structures team input to developing major interchange solutions in challenging grounds. Our team developed and optimized a complex traffic model which considered the regional importance of this interchange. In addition, we ensured it could all be constructed safely while maintaining full junction operation with a live railway running through the site.

During the procurement process and subsequent construction monitoring and contract administration, this approach of open engagement and willingness to work as a larger team ensured the project completed on site ahead of schedule.

As key enablers and providers for transport infrastructure upgrades in the Cork region, we support a range of projects bringing industry-leading technical solutions and deep experience to help deliver outcomes that improve quality of life for communities, and support sustainability, social equity and the economy.

Key team members

  • Paddy De Feu
    Patrick de Feu, Project Manager

    Patrick managed the internal delivery team on this considerable project, which was delivered on budget and ahead of program within challenging constraints including construction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Andy Thompson
    Andy Thompson, Employer’s Representative

    Andy brought his extensive contracts experience to the role of Employer’s Representative, navigating the contractual delivery though two distinct contract forms and through the recent construction supply chain issues.