Designing new highway in Norway fast and efficiently with new technology
Construction of the new E18 highway between Lysaker and Ramstadsletta will soon start. This is the first section to be constructed in the much talked about E18 West-corridor. Preparatory work on Ramstadsletta starts in November 2020.
The E18 highway is one of Norway`s busiest roads, with an average of up to 90,000 vehicles using the highway daily. It is characterized by the frequent occurrence of traffic jams, uneven traffic flow and accidents The road system needs to be modernized. A new tunnel at Høvik and a culvert at Stabekk is planned in an effort to shield the local population from noise and pollution. This solution is also designed to ensure improved capacity and safety for all road users.
Construction of the first road section is to be completed during the fall 2027, and is designed and will be constructed using state of the art engineering methodology. The consulting engineers involved have applied new methods and tools for model production and parametric design.
All disciplines are included in the model
Central to the work process is a common project model, based on the Quadri cloud solution from Trimble. The Quadri model is always up to date, ensuring that all disciplines receive model changes directly in the cloud and that these changes are continuously in sync. This provides all project participants with a continuous multidisciplinary control throughout the design phase.
In the past, only the water and sewer and road disciplines were able to work together in this way. Today, Quadri also supports Tekla, Autodesk Revit, and Rhino Grasshopper in addition to Novapoint, ensuring that structures, landscape, geotechnics and mass haulage across multiple disciplines are included in the multidomain model.
“The roads are designed in Novapoint, and other disciplines use these road models as their basis when designing their own domain models in their selected tool. The designs from all domains are made available in the multidisciplinary Quadri model, which is also easily accessible in the browser. The focus is on designing constructible models. The multidisciplinary model available in the browser application is based on the same models that are to be used as the working basis for construction”. Says Andreas Bjune Kjølseth, Civil Engineer in Aas-Jakobsen.
Aas-Jakobsen is responsible for designing the E18 road section Lysaker-Ramstadsletta, and Kjølseth works with BIM-coordination and development of new tools and methods for modelling and parametric design.
“The E18 highway project has a high number of stakeholders. It is hence highly valuable and useful that the new collaboration and design methods make it possible to test various designs faster than before. Earlier, design changes and alternatives were presented in project meetings at weekly, or longer, intervals. Today, the model can be updated multiple times per day, and approximately 40 people from the involved stakeholders have continuous access to the dataset”.
Major changes introduced quickly - without clashes
“The true major strength of the tools and methods we are using is that we can implement major changes in a very short amount of time”, says Rune Rian, Civil Engineer at ViaNova Plan og Trafikk. ViaNova is responsible for the road design, geometry and water and sewer design, and Rian is the domain responsible for road design.
This summer, ViaNova received a request to remove a planned bus road from the project, this meant that August and September were busy months as they needed to redesign the model based on the change request.
Rian shows us the updated model and some of the changes that have been implemented. Initially, the model contained a bus road that would come out of a tunnel, a large bus stop and a bridge over the E18 highway that would lead into a tunnel system - these are now replaced by new designs.
“Here, major changes were made in a very short amount of time. Just a few years ago we wouldn't have been able to make these changes as fast”, says Rian.
Kjølseth explains how they are now modelling with parametric design to be able to quickly change structures in the design model:
“Generally, several iterations are necessary to ensure good solutions across all domains. We need to consider many disciplines, and having each iteration go fast is very important. We have designed parametric models for almost all structures in the project to ensure that we are able to make changes fast. With a good parametric model we can update the BIM-model fast when the road geometry changes slightly and there are no changes to the bridge”.
Fewer design conflicts and improved design quality
With all domains being always up to date the occurrence of design conflicts is lower and the quality of the final design, the final product, is higher. As it is possible to test various alternatives faster, and easily check that everything aligns, one can determine the optimized solutions for this complicated road system, in society's best interest.
“It won't be the case that someone places a mast on top of a manhole so to speak”, says Rian and gets support from Kari Spildo, Civil Engineer at Aas-Jakobsen:
“If we don't notice design clashes instantly, we do notice them a lot faster than before. Our focus is to ensure easy access to the model, also for those that do not design, as they may have other points of view that can be of value. We use Quadri`s browser application to provide model insight, says Spildo, Domain- Coordinator and Responsible for Structures in the project.
The project owner, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, which has long been a proponent for the use of models, is so far satisfied with the delivery and design. BIM Coordinator Marius Fidje Hope is leading the work with regards to the implementation of a model based project process and -delivery, and is responsible for ensuring that the model delivery is in accordance with the contract.
“I am impressed by the last review, where the bus lane had been taken out, and by how fast the design was altered and how fast we were able to see the changes in the browser application. I believe that a process like this would have taken significantly longer just a few years back”, says Hope.
A highly detailed excavation model
In a densely populated area like this there is limited flexibility when it comes to digging and mass handling. Space is tight and many disciplines overlap and need to be coordinated. The project includes a number of structures, in addition to the road and ditches. Therefore, a lot of work is put into producing a highly detailed excavation model that can be used by the contractor for mass calculations and machine control. Espen Aass, Engineer at Aas-Jakobsen is responsible for this:
“There are so many surfaces that need to be generated and calculated. We are able to create a very good excavation model that shows the imprints of structures, road models, landscapes, geotechnics and so on, and we can distinguish between the different domains”, he says.
Novapoint is used to generate the excavation model. The result in Novapoint is brought into Rhino Grasshopper where the mass calculation can be done. Every time there are changes to the excavation footprint, the excavation model is updated and synchronized with the Quadri model and with Rhino Grasshopper. The delivery of the excavation model will make it easier for the contractor compared to previous deliveries, where the footprints were delivered by domain, and overlaps were frequent.
“Mass calculation is difficult when one does not have control over where the road meets the structure, but here we ensure that it is easy to control that all model aspects are included”, Aas comments.