The Missing Link?

Last Thursday night, 24th November 2016, more than 50 construction professionals gathered at Arup’s offices in Cardiff Bay to hear a fascinating presentation on the Eastern Bay Link project currently under construction.

The event was co-hosted by CIHT, as part of their evening lecture programme and Constructing Excellence in Wales who used the event to launch their Design Case Study of the project as part of their Exemplar programme. 

Friday 25th November 2016



Gordon Brown of CEW opened formal proceedings by explaining the purpose of the Exemplar programme and briefly outlining why the EBL project was worthy of Exemplar status. 

Rhys Griffith of Welsh Government then provided a brief introduction and background to the scheme from a client perspective. 

James Evans of WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff (Employer’s Agent) then proceeded to talk in more detail about the history of the scheme, the envisaged programme and the major constraints before elaborating on the Utilities Incentivization clause. He summarized the preliminary design – pre contract award, before handing over to Darren Wright, the Design Project Manager for Capita.

Darren described the approach to the development of the preliminary design to both the link and the two roundabouts, and the challenges associated with the original design solution. 

Gareth Davies of Cass Hayward talked about the development of the “tender” design relating specifically to the proposed composite Viaduct. He then briefly explained the reasons, centred on issues with the existing utilities, for the fundamental design change which resulted in the viaduct being increased from 180m to 660m by introducing two approach structures utilizing pre cast concrete beams. 

He then described in more detail the innovative designs for the two “cross head” structures spanning the railway, before briefly describing the approach structures design. 

John Evans representing the Joint Venture contracting organisation, firstly summarized the tender programme before more fully explaining the major issues encountered in the preliminary design stage in respect of access to land and the utilities. He explained how this led to the fundamental design change to an extended structure, the need for enabling works, a complete re vamping of the programme, and how all this was achieved through collaborative working. 

The remainder of his presentation consisted of a walkthrough of the construction progress made to date, including some exciting video footage. 

John closed by briefly touching on some of the Community Benefits being delivered, how collaboration had been the key to coming thus far, and a brief overview of the programme to completion. 

A question and answer session followed, before Gordon Brown thanked the team for what had been a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable evening.