THE CITYWEST/Saggart extension of the Luas Red line in west Dublin is expected to open to the public in 2011, following approval of the project by An Bord Pleanála yesterday.
In granting a railway order for the 4.2-kilometre spur from the existing Luas Red Line, An Bord Pleanála has given the green light to the project which was first announced as part of Transport 21 in 2005. At that time, the completion date was put at 2008.
The permission is however, subject to a further two-month delay to allow for legal challenges. Failing a challenge, the Railway Procurement Agency expects to begin construction in late August or early September. The line is expected to be completed by the end of 2010, but this is to be followed by a period of testing before passenger services start in 2011.
The new route is to have five stops at Fettercairn, Cheeverstown, Citywest Campus, Fortunestown and Saggart. It will link people and business in Dublin city centre with the Citywest Business Campus. The line will also connect significant existing and planned residential developments along with the Citywest Hotel.
The agency yesterday refused to say how much the extension would cost, but revealed that land and infrastructure contributions have been made by businessman Jim Mansfield, the Davey Hickey property group and Harcourt Developments. Other sources indicated the infrastructure contribution from the private backers was in the order €40 million.
Frank Allen, chief executive of the rail agency, welcomed the private sector participation yesterday. Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey said that the line was welcome news for commuters and would add five million passenger journeys per year to the Luas network.