TENS of thousands of Dublin commuters can expect slower journey times and disruption to bus routes while the Metro North light rail system is being built.
The Railway Procurement Agency has admitted that over 150 Dublin Bus routes will have to be changed, because Westmoreland Street will be closed to traffic for up to five years.
And one-fifth of St Stephen's Green will be closed to the public for four years while the underground station is built. Land from the Garden of Remembrance and the Rotunda Hospital will also be required.
The RPA also said there would be "wider impacts" in relation to traffic congestion and longer journey times across the city during construction works.
This morning the RPA will formally seek planning permission from An Bord Pleanala to build one of the country's most ambitious -- and expensive -- infrastructure projects.
The scheme will connect the townland of Belinstown, north of Swords, with St Stephen's Green, along an 18km route when it opens for business at the end of 2013. It will serve a number of key locations including Swords, Dublin Airport, Ballymun, DCU, the Mater Hospital and the city centre, and will connect with the Luas green and red lines.
The estimated cost of the scheme is expected to be over €3bn, but commuters and people living in the city centre will also have to pay a high price.
A summary of the Environmental Impact Statement, which will be submitted to An Bord Pleanala this morning, says that 25 construction compounds will be required during the 60-month construction period, with 1,700 landowners affected.
There will major traffic implications for Swords, Ballymun and the city centre. A number of traffic lanes will be closed along the Ballymun Road "and resulting disturbances of traffic will occur," the EIS says.
"The proposed scheme will have an impact on all forms of traffic movement," it adds. "A number of construction sites will be needed along the alignment, many of these sites will be on or along existing roadways.
"As a result, there will be a reduction in traffic capacity during the construction phase which will have a significant impact on road transportation modes."
And it says there is potential for "widespread noise impacts" from construction traffic and from tunnel-boring machines.