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Infrastructural coordination

  • 12-10-2010 8:05pm
    Registered Users Posts: 335 ✭✭

    This is Upr Kilmacud Road in Dublin. This road was widened about 3 years ago in a well managed project and a bus lane was added on the right of the picture. The new lane was built, traffic was moved onto the new lane and the left hand side of the road (in the view) was reconstructed. This included new drains etc and a completely new footpath on the left hand side.

    However despite the complete reconstruction of the road, no effort was made to underground the electricity cables. About a year after the widening the overhead cables and most of the poles were replaced as they were life expired. Now it seems to me that if the overhead plant is at end of life and the entire road is excavated that the marginal cost of putting in ducting for the cables would have been negligible. Dun Laoghaire Rathdown have a policy of reducing overhead clutter, but here they had an easy opportunity to advance that goal but didn't. Even the cable here remains although it just crosses the road and goes underground on the other side!! Could a trench not have been placed across the road during these works??

    Quite simply roads are reconstructed from time to time and the cables should be undergrounded at this time. If 3%-5% are done each year, as road works take place, then in 25 years the job is done. The problem in Ireland is that in the boom people say just dig up the road twice and in the recession they say that it costs too much when in fact the long term marginal cost of coordinating things means that these works can be done on a long timescale. But somebody couldn't be bothered, and so these opportunities are lost.


  • Registered Users Posts: 368 ✭✭Roryhy

    I personally think that before city/town centre roads are upgraded in any way that large concrete ducting should be installed along the street which could be utilised in time for gas sewage water broadband and other services as these services are upgraded in the future. It may take 25-50 years for the ducting to be fully utilised but it would save the streets from having to be dug up again. As the utility companies take up usage of this ducting there should be a charge for its use to pay back the construction costs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,362 ✭✭✭Pete_Cavan

    The situation descrided above would have involved cooperation between different state/semi state agencies, which seems to be impossible in this country. There is worse happening around the country though.

    The Dublin road into Cavan way dug up at the end of July to allow for higher capacity water mains to be installed for the Fleadh. Now the same stretch of road is covered in traffic cones again, they same to be installing extra surface water drainage and widening the road. The surfacing contract on the road is currently out for tender at the minute, meaning a few months after the current works are finished another crowd will arrive with their cones to lay tarmacadam and line the road. All three projects were under the control of Cavan County Council so there is no excuss for not doing all three jobs under the one contract, as there are many civil engineering contractors who could do all the work in one go.

    Doing it all together would have caused less disruption and given better value for money but instead we will have three different contracts completed on the same small stretch of road within six months. Crazy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,476 ✭✭✭ardmacha

    I'd go further and put a levy on overhead cables and on road openings and use that to subside the coordinated works.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,630 ✭✭✭Zen65

    Those pictures show overhead wires which connect to each house on the road. If you underground the section along the road (which I think means replacing every light pole with a hollow steel pole), then who would pay for the remaining sections of wire.... the bits that connect from the houses to the network wires?
    That would require trenches in each person's driveway.

    Then again, houses which are connected by underground networks have their meters on the outside walls, because that's the route into the home. So in Kilmacud each house meter would need to be moved, right? Who would pay for this?

    There's a difference between what might be nice to have and what is affordable.


  • Registered Users Posts: 335 ✭✭graduate

    Those pictures show overhead wires which connect to each house on the road

    If you look at the streetview there are few houses on this section of road. Two pairs of semi-Ds at the bottom on the right of the picture and that's about it. Houses towards the top of the road are newer and have underground cables anyway.

    So in this case there is no excuse whatsoever and in general a 6m of cable to reach a house should not break the bank. Many provincial local authorities have successfully achieved this.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 41 irjudge

    It comes down to who is going to pay. I agree totally that the ideal is that when a road is reconstructed or resurfaced that all available services be undergrounded and that provision be made to facilitate future services.

    If say, the ESB, have existing services on the route and the diversion of the services underground is not required for the construction of the road why would the roads authority pay to make provision for the services of a private company?

    If the services are in the way of the road project then the roads authority are obliged to pay for diversions to faciliate construction, if they aren't in the way either the roads authority pays or you are dependent on the utility company to voluntarily pay for the diversion of their services (highly unlikely except for major strategic service routes).

    I know some Councils are seeking to place an emabrgo on openings on new roads for a 5 year period but this is a very difficult thing to enforce if a site is to be developed and a rate paying company require a services upgrade.

  • Registered Users Posts: 130 ✭✭tharlear

    I know some Councils are seeking to place an emabrgo on openings on new roads for a 5 year period but this is a very difficult thing to enforce if a site is to be developed and a rate paying company require a services upgrade.

    Not really, it possible to go under, numerous system are available to drill/tunnel under a road.
    In london much of this work is done without ripping up roads. In the US they drill under the road to install new utilities.
    But it costs a bit more, and there in lies the problem, if you rip up a road it cost the people doing the digging less but leaves the council with a damaged road. After a few years the road get destroyed by multipe cuts and the ware that occours around the "patch" in ireland normally a lump of cold tarmac pushed down with a welly.

    If a road has to be opened the body opening it should be required by law to relay a lenght of road eachside of the cut, 200m (a furlong or so) this would encorage them to seek less destructive methods of putting in services.