Sunday 31 October 2010

Public to have their say on underground DART plan

PASSENGERS will be able to give their views on plans to build a railway tunnel underneath Dublin city centre when a public hearing begins next month.

An Bord Pleanala will open an oral hearing into the €3bn DART underground project in November which is expected to last for at least a month.

Almost 280 parties have made submissions including government departments, politicians and residents groups.

If approved by the board, it would result in the capital having two DART lines -- one from Maynooth to Bray, and a second from Hazelhatch/Celbridge to Howth.

And Iarnrod Eireann says if the Government approves the €3bn project, the equivalent of 25 million car kilometres will be taken off the roads and there will be 30 fewer road collisions in the capital.

The confidential business report also says that 2,000 jobs will be located around each of the five underground stations at Spencer Dock, Pearse Street, St Stephen's Green, Christchurch and Heuston "as a conservative estimate".

This is because businesses will be encouraged to cluster together to make best use of the line.

The unpublished Iarnrod Eireann report, obtained by the Irish Independent, also predicts that the DART underground linking rail services between Heuston and Connolly stations will have a major beneficial impact on traffic congestion and will cut pollution from emissions.

The system was to be built by 2015 but has been delayed until 2018 because of a longer than expected planning and design process.

The Government also has to give the final green light to the project.

Treacy Hogan Environment Correspondent
Irish Independent

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