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Innovative engineering and stabilisation
at Structure ‘C’ Bray Head, County Wicklow

Project Challenges and Background

Bray Head is situated in County Wicklow, south of Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. The route around the headland was surveyed and engineered by none other than Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who at the time was engaged with the construction of the Dublin & Wicklow Railway’s line from Bray to the county town of Wicklow further south. The section of line around the headland from Bray to Greystones was first opened in 1855.

The works were located at coastal defence asset CDR074D (also known locally as ‘Structure C’) situated at 13 miles, 1,225 yards on the Dublin to Wexford railway line. In more specific terms, this asset is located on Bray Head on the railway line between Bray and Greystones in Co. Wicklow within a SAC area. This project was designed to replace a gabion structure that was installed in 1970 in which movement had been evident for some years but had accelerated in recent years.

The structure had been monitored closely and using Geotechnical inspections it was determined that the structure was settling due to the movement of water flowing through a steep ravine cut in the rock below.

From a logistical perspective this site was extremely difficult to service, and it required detailed planning to ensure that all plant and personnel could be transported to site safely. Any drainage or drilling operations had to be done precisely and due to difficult and restrictive access small manageable plant and equipment had to be lowered down the slope to enable the works to commence. The track area was piled with vertical micropiles at close centres to bridge the gap across the ravine.

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Bray Head Case Study (PDF)