Enabling the development of high-speed rail routes in Europe is a complex undertaking, often having to accommodate existing transport infrastructure like major highways, bridges and others. In the highly industrialised north of Italy, the development of the planned Milan-Venice high-speed railway faced a major challenge: most of the rail line design follows the existing A4 Brescia-Padova highway, one of the busiest toll roads in the country.
The 30 km overlap in the Brescia to Verona stretch, often in near parallel alignment, will include more than 110 major infrastructure elements - tunnels, overpasses, junctions, etc. The route also travels across 11 different municipalities, making the overall planning, permitting, scheduling and stakeholder management a major undertaking.
Minimising impact on traffic is a priority for highway operator Autostrada Brescia Verona Vicenza Padova, majority owned by concession group Abertis. Arup was appointed as joint venture leader to set up the Project Management Office for the Brescia to Padova sub-section of the toll road, ensuring highway operations, road safety and asset integrity are not affected by the ongoing construction of the high-speed line.
Combining our team’s design expertise and project management skills, the joint venture provided overall project control, quality, risk and digital information management, as well as change and stakeholder management.
Coordinating the huge range of stakeholders for this project, including the general contractor, the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility and other client's providers is an essential part of this complex project.
Given the enormity of the task, highway operator A4 Autostrada Brescia Verona Vicenza Padova has decided to proactively create a Project Management Office focused on the smooth delivery of the project, a novel approach for the Italian infrastructure market.
This fruitful, four-year collaboration is focused on minimising impact on the highway operations, road safety and asset integrity and enabling the construction works behind the high-speed rail line to continue apace safely.
In some cases, this could mean ensuring that permits are secured for the many different live construction sites, so work can progress to schedule. In other cases, the overlap between both routes could mean temporary changes to the highway’s existing alignment to accommodate the high-speed rail, which has to be coordinated in a careful ballet of civil infrastructure works.
Common data environments: streamlining complex infrastructure work
Complex projects require a streamlined approach to data management, essential to track developments and keep a range of stakeholders updated. Building on previous appointments to support Abertis and Autostrada Brescia Verona Vicenza Padova on their digital transformation, our team has created a common data environment (CDE) as a central repository to manage all the data flows and deliverables, establishing a single source of truth for data. A range of dashboards allow the team to manage and visualise data, and to present it to the different stakeholders involved, providing visibility and accessibility as the project progresses.
We’ve also helped build internal capability, providing training on best practice to harness the dashboards and the data.
An out of the ordinary project, due to the complexity of the relationships, the number of teams and organizations involved, the variety of processes and the amount of information and transactions that cannot be lost. With Arup the pleasant feeling of control that is what the Client is looking for. ” Pier Mauro Masoli Project Director, Autostrada Brescia Verona Vicenza Padova
Transparency: unlocking stakeholder management
Managing numerous stakeholders in a project of this scale is no easy task, but it can also enable the kind of transparency that allows for improved, more agile decision-making – ensuring timelines do not slip and conflicts are prevented. Our team was tasked with enabling and coordinating communications among a very diverse range of stakeholders: from public sector players like the Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility, the Italian railway operator Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, their in-house engineering firm Italferr, the concession operator Autostrada Brescia Verona Vicenza Padova, the consortium joint venture Cepav Due, as well as a constellation of other players including local stakeholders.
This alignment has created a culture of transparency among all involved parties, enabling a more agile approach to decision making while ensuring railway construction and well as efficient highway operations road safety and asset integrity for the client of the highway and working sites, ultimately helping all stakeholders to stay on track with their planned schedule.
The 30 km overlap between the A4 Brescia-Padova motorway and the new high-speed line – a key infrastructure link in northern Italy - makes this an incredibly complex undertaking. Embracing international best practice, our Project Management Office team is nurturing a culture of transparency among all stakeholders and bringing agility to the decision-making process, ultimately minimising impact on the highway and allowing construction on the adjacent high speed rail line to continue apace. ” Fabio Tradigo Associate
PMO: a true collaboration
A Project Management Office is becoming an increasingly common feature when it comes to managing complex, large scale infrastructure projects. A PMO enables cross-functional collaboration and minimises the occurrence of issues, by defining a range of business-critical planning and operational standards and processes. Collaboration is essential for a truly successful project management office, particularly as projects grow in complexity, breaking down siloes to unlock greater value.
Driven by a collaborative approach, our team has built a true in-depth partnership with the client. Arup’s extensive network of experts are available to advise throughout the project’s development, with input from flagship infrastructure projects such as the UK’s low-carbon HS2 rail line. As a result, our work alongside the client has helped nurture a culture of excellence aligned with international best practice, supporting effective project management and quality delivery.