Project outline 

Waterford City & County Council has successfully carried out a series of public realm projects in recent years which have transformed the city streetscape. This has significantly benefited both the local economy and local culture. 

Murphy was commissioned in 2016 to completely renew traffic and pedestrian areas within the city centre including improved service ducting, the introduction of new public lighting and street furniture. 

Hard and soft landscaping were introduced to streetscapes including John Street, Michael Street, Arundel Square, Lady Lane and Peter Street. The installation of new underground services incorporated drainage, manholes, gullies and utility chambers.  

The highlight of the project was a state-of-the-art, steel-framed canopy in the Apple Market which is unique to Ireland and was completed in 2017. This has recently won the Construction Industry Tourism and Hospitality project of the year award. 

Key challenges  

As we were operating in busy city streets that included residential areas, we organised regular public liaison meetings to address a variety of concerns. This ensured that residents and stakeholders were kept fully informed of all aspects of work throughout the project.  

In the heart of the Viking town, there were significant archaeological challenges during the course of the project, for example the discovery of medieval city walls at Colbeck Street and Peter Street. Murphy provided assistance throughout the scheme to the project archaeologist, including the engagement of their own in-house archaeologist. 

Project delivery and innovations 

Projects to improve the city have been carried out in recent years under the vigilant guidance of the council architect, Rupert Maddock with a consciousness and sensitivity to the Viking heritage of Waterford City. With much of the current phase of works centred over highly significant archaeological areas, Murphy operated in close cooperation with the project archaeologist, Orla Scully and engaged the assistance of their own in-house archaeologist. 

The spectacular Apple Market canopy, consisting of structural steel framework, stainless steel edgings, lighting containment, perimeter fanned glazing and reflective mirrored ceiling, was the imaginative and visionary design of local architects, Máire Henry and Fintan Duffy (dhb architects). 

The structural steel framework was designed by local structural engineers, Frank Fox and Robert Fox (Frank Fox Associates). While the lighting, which highlights the spectacular image of the canopy by night, was designed by local consultant, Pearse Douglas (Douglas Carroll Consulting Engineers). 

Murphy International, acting as main contractor, brought a one-stop shop dimension to the project by carrying out both design and fabrication of the structural steel elements at the Murphy steelworks fabrication facility at Newbridge, Co. Kildare. This was of tremendous advantage when site discovery issues, such as the proliferation of existing underground services, dictated some redesign of concrete gravity bases and column base plates to overcome the challenges.  

The ground planar surface consisted mainly of Portuguese granite kerbs, paving slabs and setts. These were used within Apple Market and extended throughout the streetscapes concerned. 

Key facts 
  • Complete renewal of traffic and pedestrian areas 
  • Sensitivity to the archaeological and heritage elements of the area  
  • Drainage and ducting installed 
  • Hard and soft landscaping introduced 
  • Portuguese granite kerbs, paving slabs and setts utilised
  • Fabrication and construction of the Apple Market canopy 
  • Street furniture and lighting installed
  • The state-of-the-art, steel-framed canopy in the Apple Market, unique to Ireland and completed in 2017 won the Construction Industry Tourism and Hospitality project of the year award in June 2018. 

Related projects

Waterford Public Realm Works.

A leading provider in urban infrastructure

Murphy has been maintaining and improving the UK’s highways and cityscapes, assisting with numerous high profile infrastructure projects. The Urban Infrastructure team at Murphy, brings together key Murphy services such as utilities, ground engineering, plant, and highways and streetworks.