Saturday, 18 April 2009

Large areas of Dublin to close to traffic for metro building

LARGE AREAS of Dublin city centre will be closed to private cars during the planned construction of Metro North, an oral hearing into the project has heard.

New details of proposed traffic restrictions, due to start this autumn in tandem with construction works, were contained in a “scheme traffic management plan” circulated at the inquiry yesterday by the Railway Procurement Agency.

The agency is seeking permission to build the metro line from St Stephen’s Green to Swords via Dublin airport.

Its management plan said all “general traffic” would be removed from the east side of Parnell Square, limiting access to a single bus lane.

From Parnell Square to St Stephen’s Green via O’Connell Street, enabling works would see footpaths realigned and the “protection or removal” of existing trees and shrubbery as well as street furniture and statues.

At O’Connell Bridge there will be a ban on right turns from Bachelor’s Walk to O’Connell Bridge, and on right turns from the bridge to Eden Quay for all traffic.

It is also proposed to close the vehicular access from Westmoreland Street to Fleet Street, westbound towards Temple Bar. The left-hand turn from Westmoreland Street to Aston Quay would be closed.

The number of traffic lanes available in Westmoreland Street, following the establishment of a “bus gate” in College Green, is to be reduced progressively to one bus lane. A north-bound lane would be introduced in D’Olier Street.

A new public transport-only bridge is to be provided between Marlborough Street and Hawkins Street “to primarily provide a turn-back for buses between the north and south quays”.

At St Stephen’s Green the current route along St Stephen’s Green North via St Stephen’s Green West and through Glovers Alley is to be permanently closed.

The direction of traffic on Glovers Alley is to be reversed to facilitate an eastbound movement of traffic from Mercer Street to St Stephen’s Green West.

A traffic lane is to be opened up in front of the Royal College of Surgeons to allow existing traffic from Glovers Alley to turn right and travel southbound on St Stephen’s Green West and enter York Street.

Existing bus routes, in particular those which use Westmoreland Street and Aston Quay, are to be revised. Some 30 Dublin Bus routes would be affected in addition to those operated by private operators.

Some taxi parking spaces in St Stephen’s Green North are to be relocated to St Stephen’s Green West, south of York Street.

The plan admits there will be significant traffic disruption in Ballymun during construction, but says there will be minimal disruption to traffic during the building of the underground section of Metro North at Dublin airport.

The Railway Procurement Agency told the inquiry the plan would be an “evolving one” and would respond to input from a Metro North Traffic Forum, which is to be set up. It will include representatives from the city council, Fingal County Council, Dublin Bus, An Garda, the Dublin Transportation Office, Bus Éireann, the Railway Procurement Agency and the contractors.

The committee is to meet fortnightly during construction to oversee arrangements.

Irish Times

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