Glasgow Airport Investment Area (GAIA) Wins at Engineers Ireland Engineering Excellence Digital Series

23 Nov 2022

The project came out on top in the Engineering Innovation category for its unique and low carbon solution to a complex engineering challenge.


We’re delighted to have won the 'Engineering Innovation' category of this year’s Engineers Ireland Engineering Excellence Digital Series.


From our offices in Dublin, Cork and Galway, we provided design services for Wills Bros Civil Engineering on the Glasgow Airport Investment Area – Ancillary Infrastructure project, which is being led by Renfrewshire Council and jointly funded by the UK and Scottish governments through the £1.13bn Glasgow City Region Deal.


The project provides improved connections to Glasgow Airport, including:

  • the realignment, upgrading and extension of the existing road network.
  • a 70m long two-lane bridge for pedestrians, cyclists, and commercial traffic across the White Cart River.
  • a new 100m single span pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Black Cart River.
  • new and improved junctions and connections to existing cycleways and pathways.

It also included an engineered crossing of a 132 kV oil cooled buried electrical cable. We developed an innovative, unique and low-carbon solution to the challenge of constructing a new crossing over a set of buried electrical cables in a soft floodplain environment. The cables had fragile oil-filled cores which were very vulnerable to damage by settlement and movement, vibration, overheating and accidental damage during construction.


The original design provided for a carbon-intensive bridging structure, supported on 22 concrete piles - each 30m deep - with precast concrete beams spanning between them. The alternative innovative design developed by RPS comprised an embankment formed with recycled plastic Geocellular units, normally used for water storage applications. These units are very lightweight, being over 95% air, and yet still robust enough to sustain traffic loads. The carbon footprint for this Geocellular design was 197t CO2e, which is 87% lower than the original which had a carbon footprint of 1,546t CO2e.


As an Engineering Excellence Digital Series category winner, our project has also been shortlisted for the Engineering Endeavour of 2022 Award. If you would like for our project to win, please vote for us on the Engineers Ireland website.


If you would like to find out more about this project, you can read our in-depth project profile here.



Alex Rey

Sector Director - Project Management Office T: +353 1 523 9210 Email
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Cian McGuinness

Director - Geotechnical T: +353 1 488 2900 Email
Christy O'Sullivan Headshot.

Christy O'Sullivan

Senior Director T: +353 1 488 2900 Email

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