Winter 2019

Testing success on Ireland's M7 motorway

James Fisher Testing Services (JFTS) has just completed work on a major upgrade of the M7 bypass in Ireland. 

The upgrade involved widening a 13.6km stretch of the motorway from two to three lanes to ease congestion for Dublin commuter traffic on one of the busiest roads in Ireland.

More than 70,000 vehicles use this route every day to drive between Dublin and other major cities such as Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Kilkenny. The scheme includes the building of six new bridges, including one over the Grand Canal and two across the River Liffey.

Over the last 18 months, the JFTS team has been working with the Siac/Colas joint venture, who is responsible for the works. JFTS technicians have carried out sampling and structural testing on site, and the samples collected have been tested back at the JFTS laboratories in Portlaoise and Warrington.

Tim Ryan, technical sales executive at JFTS Ireland, explains that the work was won on the back of 'persistent and consistent engagement' with the customer Siac/Colas. JFTS eventually won over €350,000 of work from a major competitor, which had originally secured the whole contract.

'We had meetings to identify how JFTS could meet potential testing requirements and the customer's needs. which meant we were well positioned to address those needs when the opportunities arose.'

He says.

'In the end, we were asked to provide additional testing on site as the scope and the quantities was too large for our competitor. We were able to demonstrate we have the capability, the resources and the accreditation scope to handle the project's significant testing requirements.'

'It was important to be able to offer a quick turnaround on test results to reduce delays, and key to this was the JFTS designed Plateman (load testing) system which provided test reports rapidly, allowing earthworks to proceed as scheduled.'

Adding:

'The team showed a consistently positive response to resolving problems as they occurred and in the end we were able to provide a better service in terms of mobilisation and testing at short notice than the competitor.'

 

Tests conducted included (see graphic):

  • Compliance test: quarried materials supplied to project (such as crushed rock, sand and gravel) are sent for testing at JFTS laboratories to ensure consistency and compliance to standards.
  • Bearing capacity testing: The JFTS Plateman kit determines load-bearing characteristics of in-situ ground conditions to ensure earthworks are placed and compacted to meet specified load-bearing capacity.
  • Compaction tests: A Nuclear Density Gauge kit is used to determine compaction percentage and moisture content of quarry material in-situ to ensure each layer meets requirements before next layer is applied.
  • Concrete testing: Cube samples of concrete are tested on site to determine workability and to check strength meets design specifications during construction.
  • Pull tests: Hilti load tester kit is used to check surface maturity as the concrete cures.

 

M7 graphic

 

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