Monday 28 June 2010

Planning permission sought for €2.5bn Dublin Dart underground system

Political Correspondent Iarnród Eireann will this week apply for permission to proceed with plans for its €2.5 billion Dart Underground project in Dublin.

The application to An Bord Pleanála is for a 7.6-kilometre underground tunnel which would have the capacity to treble numbers on the capital’s rail network to 100 million journeys annually.

The tunnel would connect lines coming into the city from the north of the county to the Kildare lines through underground stations at Spencer Dock, Pearse Street, St Stephen’s Green, Christ Church and Heuston. It will also include a new surface Dart station at Inchicore.

The ultimate plan is to link all rail systems - Dart, Commuter, Intercity, Luas and Metro - for an integrated transport network for Dublin.

In a business case for the project, Colin Buchanan & Partners , an international transport and economic consultancy, said it would generate 2.4 times more than it cost, and represented an investment in future economic development.

The wider benefits to business would increase GDP by some €450 million yearly by 2020, and it would remove 25 million kilometres in car journeys a year from Irish roads by 2030, according to the London consultancy firm.

Iarnród Eireann’s application for a Railway Order - the equivalent of planning permission - will be lodged this week, with a view to work starting in 2012 and completing in 2018.

The firm recently revealed the project would not be completed by its initial deadline of 2015, as planning applications had taken longer than expected.

The Dart Underground is to be built as a public private partnership, and firms have been invited to tender. Responses to the prequalification tender are due by July 20.

The successful bidder will be responsible for the design, construction, financing, commissioning, operation and maintenance of the tunnel, as well as stations and facilities over the PPP period to last between 25 and 35 years.

In return, the private partner will receive an annual payment.

Sunday Business Post

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