US engineer Jacobs has won a contract from state company Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) to oversee the East Coast Railway Infrastructure Protection Projects (ECRIPP) programme.
Jacobs’ 100-year contract will involve coastal erosion and flooding prevention work on the Dublin-to-Rosslare coastal rail line, which carries Dublin Area Rapid Transit and mainline services.
Half of the 168km railway runs adjacent to a coastal or estuarine environments, making it vulnerable to climate change.
Over the past 20 years, the frequency of track washout, where the sea erodes the land supporting the railway, has increased.
Jacobs will use breakwaters, beach nourishment, onshore revetment strengthening and other interventions during the first phase of the programme.
Work will be completed in separate stages over seven years, and will be northwest Europe’s largest coastal protection scheme.
Aidan Bermingham, Iarnród Éireann infrastructure programme manager, said: “Our studies have identified that in the past 20 years there have been more storm events than there have been in the past 100 years, thereby increasing and accelerating the erosion rates and the climate change impacts."
Dominic Lynch, Jacobs Ireland’s vice president of buildings and infrastructure, added: “Climate change is having a dramatic impact on the transport route and local area. Protecting the Dublin-to-Rosslare coastal line will build long-term resilience and preserve vital connectivity, local economies, and communities, while benefiting the next generation.”