Metro West Liffey Bridge Design Competition

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      Paul Clerkin

      The RIAI (Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland) is administering a competition on behalf of the competition promoters, the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA).

      This is a two stage competition for the architectural and structural design of a bridge over the Liffey Valley to serve the new Metro West line. Following an initial Expression of Interest to confirm capacity, Competitors will prepare a design for a new bridge, of outstanding design quality, crossing the Liffey Valley. The new bridge will carry the proposed Metro West line. RPA may subsequently proceed with the construction of a new bridge based on the winning entry.

      Metro West, which is the subject of this Design Competition, is one of the Transport 21 projects.

      Metro West will run from Tallaght to Dublin Airport, joining with the proposed Metro North line from north of the M50 motorway. The route will traverse an area of ongoing rapid development and so the Metro West Corridor will effectively serve major existing conurbations as well as proposed future developments, and maximise its contributions to society by meeting wider transport and economic planning objectives.

      The proposed route crosses the Liffey Valley an area renowned for its wealth of ecological, archaeological and high amenity landscape value. Specifically, the Liffey Valley is designated as a proposed Natural Heritage Area (pNHA) and is also covered by a Special Amenity Area Order (SAAO).

      The proposed bridge would be designed to make a prominent, yet aesthetically pleasing addition to the Liffey Valley whilst enabling views across the Liffey to be maintained, as far as possible. Sympathetic use of appropriate materials and effective lighting once operational would minimise any potential adverse visual impact on the valley and the preserved views. Dealing with noise and vibration issues will also need to be taken into account. Such a landmark has the potential to enhance rather than detract from an area of such significance. The site spans both sides of the River Liffey in the proposed location for the crossing.


      The Competition is open to candidates who can demonstrate an Architectural and an Engineering expertise. Architects should hold a qualification listed in the Professional Qualifications Directive, and Engineers under Article 3 of the Official Journal of the European Union.

      Given the complexity of the project entrants will either have experience of bridge design themselves or enter on a collaborative basis so as to have such expertise to hand. This should be identified in the Expression of Interest which can be downloaded from the RIAI website

      Stages 1 & 2 Jury

      Director of Design and Construction (RPA): Pat O’Donoghue (Chair)
      Architectural Representative (RPA): Jim Quinlan
      Engineering Representative (RPA): Paul Higgins
      Environmental Representative (RPA): Anne Lillis
      County Council Representative (Fingal): Jim Cleary
      County Council Representative (South Dublin): Frank Coffey
      Project Manager (RPA): Tom O’Reilly
      RIAI Nominee: Des Mc Mahon
      IEI Nominee: John Power

      Prize Fund

      Each short listed competitor invited to participate in Stage 2 of the competition will be paid an honorarium of €50,000 for a valid Stage 2 submission. It is the intention of the promoters that the winning competition entry will receive a prize of €100,000.

      * Competition Programme
      * Expression of Interest available from: 28 April 2008
      * Expression of Interest Submission Deadline: 4 June 2008
      * Stage 1 Registration opens: 18 June 2008

      How to Register

      An initial Expression of Interest to confirm capacity only must first be completed.

      If a candidate meets the minimum capacity requirements, the candidate will be invited to register for the Competition. The Expression of Interest and subsequently the Competition Brief will only be available in the competition section of the RIAI website

      Enquiries contact
      Karina O’Neill, Competitions Officer, RIAI, 8 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland.
      Email: Tel: +353 1 669 1480 Fax: +353 1 661 0948

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