Updates to align Turku Ring Road with European quality requirements
The Turku Ring Road is part of the European route E18 and an important pathway both nationally and within Europe. Two lanes are being added to the last two-lane section of the route within Finnish borders, which will require 13 new bridges, among other updates. Sweco served as a construction consultant for the first phase of the design and build contract.
The Turku Ring Road is part of the European Union’s E18 route, which spans from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean Sea. The Finnish section of the road is important for harbour traffic between Turku and Naantali, for example, as well as outbound transport to Saint Petersburg. The update will also improve the operating capabilities of businesses in the area.
“The two-lane section of the E18 along the Turku Ring Road is the last Finnish section not in compliance with the European quality requirements,” says Juha Sillanpää from the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, providing background for the project. The addition of another two lanes will remove the bottleneck area where the increase in traffic has been above average. “There is also a lot of heavy traffic on the ring road.”
A total of 13 new R2-category bridges will be constructed in the area. In addition to this, two bridges were repaired and three demolished. “The vertical staggering will improve traffic flow,” says Pasi Orava of Sweco, who served as a project manager for the procurement phase, safety coordinator for the implementation phase and supervisor for the bridge construction. With the introduction of the new overpasses and interchanges, level crossings will be removed. “The traffic will be funnelled to larger roads.”
Sweco got involved as a construction consultant as early as the procurement phase. “The project required a set of new kinds of documents to eliminate unnecessary risks related to the tenders,” Orava says.
An extensive round of discussions was also held with the prospective contractors. “The competitive bidding went well. The competition was close, and we secured excellent contractors for the project,” Sillanpää says.
Rock materials are recycled within the project
The role of construction consultant continued during the excavation and bridge construction work. The project is divided into two construction phases, which intertwined in the summer of 2020.
“During the first phase, we did not know when the second one would begin, so it was initially difficult to determine the scope of the contract,” Sillanpää says. The first phase also generated almost all of the rock material for the project, which the operators involved wanted to reuse instead of replacing it with new material purchased in the second phase. “We ended up storing about 100,000 cubic metres of rock material for the second phase.”
During the construction, special attention was paid to traffic control. “The aim of the project is to improve an existing road, so it has been necessary to move traffic flows around quite a bit,” Sillanpää says.
Sweco’s experts also monitor noise shielding, landscaping and the preservation of natural values. “For example, new breeding and resting environments were added to flying squirrel habitats,” Orava says.
Cooperation in the development phase leads to workable solutions
The project involved piloting a new design and build contract type (STk), which also comprised a joint development phase. “The client and contractor developed the solutions together, which meant that many issues were addressed and resolved as early as the planning phase,” Orava says.
“The development phase ran smoothly, and the contractor was able to improve the solutions in the road plan,” Sillanpää says. Thanks to the development phase, cost impacts will be monitored throughout the project and savings reached through the planning solutions will be divided between the client and contractor.
The first phase of the project will be completed in 2021. “Our current tasks involve supervising the construction work, occupational safety and traffic safety to ensure that everything proceeds according to plan and the quality requirements set by the client,” Orava says.
“It is a good thing that the supervisors are locals. That means you see them almost every day!” Sillanpää adds.