Bord Pleanála is to hire its own experts in the areas of noise, traffic, vibration and ground settlement in assessing the Railway Procurement Agency's plans for Metro north, the preliminary inquiry into the metro was told this morning.
Opening what he said was a "housekeeping" session to decide on the running order for the inquiry in Dublin's Croke Park today, Bord Pleanála senior planning inspector Kevin Moore said there had been almost 200 formal observations on plans for the 18 kilometre route from St Stephen's Green to north of Swords, eight kilometres of which is to be underground.
James Connolly SC for the Railway Procurement Agency told the hearing he expected the case in favour of Dublin's first metro route would take about six days to outline.
Others who are seeking time at the hearing include the Mater Hospital, schools, An Taisce, Iarnród Éireann, Fingal and Dublin City councils, Dublin Airport Authority, traders associations and individual residents associations.
The inquiry will also provide a period for cross-examination of witnesses which is expected to be considerable.
Colm Costello for the CIE group said negotiations between the procurement agency and the CIE group were ongoing and their success would impact on how much time the group would need to make its observations.
Mr Moore told the inquiry that once the running order and likely timescale for the inquiry proper was established, each of the parties would be advised in writing of the probable length and venue of the inquiry.
An environmental impact statement (EIS) on the project last September predicted the effects expected from the construction of the Metro line could include serious impacts on sensitive equipment at the Rotunda and Mater hospitals, and the possibility that the Mater may have to make alternative arrangements for operations.