Thursday, 1 July 2010

New East Wall site for launch of Dart tunnelling machine

INCHICORE RESIDENTS have given a guarded welcome to a decision to drop plans to assemble and launch a tunnel boring machine for Dart Underground on a sports field in the historic Railway Estate.

According to an application for a Railway Order lodged with An Bord Pleanála yesterday, tunnelling for Dart Underground is now to take place from east to west, with the tunnel boring machine launch site now located at East Wall near Docklands station.

In addition, the Inchicore portal has been moved several hundred yards away from houses and is now to be located within the CIÉ engineering yards. Houses in the Railway Estate date from the mid-1800s and were built for railway workers, including those working in the yards.

The changes mean Dart Underground is set to have a much lower impact on the community of about 700 people in the Railway Estate. While an area of green space will be required for an “intercession and vent shaft” from the tunnel, Iarnród Eireann said yesterday this would be small and not located on the playing pitch.

The Railway Order is the rail equivalent of planning permission and if approved the €2.5 billion project will deliver a high-capacity rail line through the city centre.

The line is 8.6km, 7.6km of which will be in twin-bore tunnels. The tunnels will connect the Northern and Kildare rail lines with underground stations at Spencer Dock, Pearse Station, St Stephen’s Green, Christchurch and Heuston Station, as well as a surface Dart station at Inchicore.

Frequency and capacity on the Dart Northern, Maynooth and Kildare lines will be increased, while the Dart will be extended to Maynooth, Hazelhatch/Celbridge and the Northern line, with Pearse Station acting as a central hub connecting all lines.

Separately yesterday, the chief executive of the National Roads Authority (NRA), Fred Barry, defended its policy of charging taxis to use the Dublin Port Tunnel.

Mr Barry yesterday told the Oireachtas Committee on Transport that the tunnel was just paying its operating costs through toll revenue, and if taxis were allowed to use the tunnel free then taxi drivers may want free passage extended to the rest of the State’s toll roads, bridges and tunnels.

Mr Barry agreed to refer the issue to the NRA board after the chairman of the committee, Frank Fahey, appealed to him to consider it as a way of reducing congestion in the city.

Irish Times

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