Commuters to face Metro chaos

Commuters to face Metro chaos
October 2008
The College View
By Cian Ginty

Traffic congestion around DCU is expected to incease dramatically when construction of the Metro North gets underway.

The Ballymun Road will be effectively turned into a construction site during the works.

Unlike the city centre section of the proposed light railway line, which is to be tunnelled, the section from just south of DCU to the boundary of Dublin Airport is to use ‘cut and cover’.

Both methods deliver similar results but cut and cover causes greater disruption at construction.

According to the files submitted by the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) to An Bord Pleanala, impacts of the project include extra traffic congestion due to a planned reduction of the number of lanes on the Ballymun Road.

Motoring commuters are likely to be affected more than public transport users as bus lanes are to be maintained throughout. However, due to disruption at junctions in the nearby areas, Dublin Bus services are also predicted to be dramatically slower.

“The average bus speed throughout the city is predicted to decrease by 27 percent, a drop of 4kph.

“Furthermore, the bus kilometres lost to queuing per hour is predicted to increase by over 250 percent as a result of construction,” says the Environmental Impact Statement.

The bored tunnelling from the city centre will end in Hampstead Park beside DCU where cut and cover will be used along the university side of Ballymun Road up as far Collins Avenue/Glasnevin Avenue junction where the alignment will switch to the middle of the road.

The impact statement for Metro North says there will also be “temporary severance” to a number of junctions, although works are to be done in a “phased manner” and major junctions are to be “kept operational at all times”.

Access from the Ballymun Road to the western vehicle and pedestrian entrance to DCU, which the RPA simply refers to as “the pedestrian access to DCU”, and the nearby Albert College Drive will be temporal closed off for an undefined time.“There will be some severance of Albert College Drive, however, residential properties will be accessible via alternative access.

The pedestrian access to DCU, next to Albert College Park will be unusable for a short period. Access to DCU will be by the main entrance on Collins Avenue,” states the submission to An Bord Pleanala.

The bus stop at that entrance – used by the majority of students getting buses towards the city centre – is also set to be moved and two buildings will be demolished to make way for the proposed DCU Metro North stop.

A large part of Hampstead Park will also be dug up and used during construction. Trees at the university gates and numerous trees along the Ballymun Road will be removed.

There has been widespread media speculation that Metro North would be scrapped in the budget. However at a Department of Transport press briefing last week this was denied by the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey.

“Provisions have been made to continue work on critical public transport projects of Metro North and the Dart Interconnector. Despite our more constrained economic circumstances we cannot and will not stop planning and providing for future public transport solutions,” Dempsey said.

The Minister said funds have been made available for planning and “enabling works” for the line. After that stage, funding from Public-Private Partnership will be in place. The Government payment for the Metro would then be spread across 30 years.

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