Friday 17 April 2009

Commuters face chaos if Metro gets green light

BUS lanes and streets will be closed, residential parking privileges removed and footpaths narrowed during construction of the Metro North light-rail project.

Yesterday, the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) outlined massive disruption in Dublin city if the 18km line linking St Stephen's Green with Belinstown, north of Swords, goes ahead.

Transport planner Ian Byrne said the bulk of the impact would be felt where stops were being constructed, particularly around St Stephen's Green, O'Connell Street and Parnell Square where road capacity would be reduced.

Further restrictions would apply through Ballymun, the Mater Hospital, Drumcondra, DCU and the Swords bypass.

"The nature and scale of Metro North is such that disruption generated by the construction works is inevitable. The construction of these stops requires large areas of road space to be removed for long periods of time which will constrain the movement available for all road users," he said.

But he said that while the proposed Bus Gate at College Green -- which will keep cars of Dame and Westmoreland streets -- would impact on motorists, it would give increased access to public transport users. The RPA expects traffic to be affected within a 2km zone either side of the track.

In all, 11km of tunnel will be constructed with 7km to run at ground level. Nine stops will be underground, and two million square metres of soil will be excavated and 800,000 cubic metres of concrete laid.

Bus lanes along the Malahide Road will be suspended while works are ongoing, and the road layout in Dublin Airport re-aligned. The Ballymun Road will be reduced to two lanes, with one lane for buses.

Irish Rail will host open forums for those along the route of the proposed DART underground line: Monday next, 5-8pm, at the Hilton Hotel in Inchicore; Thursday at the Central Hotel on Exchequer Street; and the following Monday and Thursday at the Sean O'Casey Community Centre in East Wall, and at the Alexander Hotel on Fenian Street.

Paul Melia
Irish Independent

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