Roadworks on St Stephen's Green to reverse traffic flow and restrict movement
Dublin City Council has set Sunday, July 4th, as the date for the introduction of new traffic arrangements at St Stephen's Green.
Mr Brendan O'Brien, the council's head of technical services in traffic, said the management plan outlined last month on the issue would go ahead with only minor alterations, leading to the closure of part of St Stephen's Green West and a change in the direction of the traffic flow.
Mr O'Brien stressed that the changes were being introduced on a temporary basis to facilitate roadworks on St Stephen's Green West. If they were to become permanent, he said, there would first be a round of public consultation.
Under the plan, cars will no longer be able to drive around the green. Instead, the traffic flow will be reversed along St Stephen's Green East, from Earlsfort Terrace to the Shelbourne Hotel.
There will be two-way traffic along the south side of the green. However, all traffic coming down Harcourt Street will have to turn left.
Temporary barriers and signposts will be installed in the coming weeks to direct traffic along the route. Cars travelling from Cuffe Street to Merrion Row will be worst affected as they will have to travel anti-clockwise around the green before looping back via Dawson Street, Molesworth Street and Kildare Street.
The council will consider reversing the traffic on Hume Street and Ely Place, allowing cars from St Stephen's Green East to access Merrion Row more easily.
However, this has been ruled out in the initial phase of the road works, which are due to take up to eight weeks. Under this first phase of works, St Stephen's Green West will be closed up to York Street. Cars will be allowed to access the Royal College of Surgeons/St Stephen's Green car parks via St Stephen's Green North. Under phase two, the route between Glover's Alley to Dawson Street will be closed to traffic, creating an extended pedestrianised area.
The council is hoping to undertake this second phase of works immediately after the first. But Mr O'Brien conceded that if the new arrangements were found to have caused problems it could come under pressure to postpone phase two until next summer.
One of the few changes to the original plan is to allow buses turn right at the top of Kildare Street onto St Stephen's Green North, to facilitate feeder services to and from the Luas. On St Stephen's Green East, there will be a contra-flow bus lane allowing buses to travel from Kildare Street to Leeson Street.
Buses travelling in the opposite direction will have to join ordinary traffic lanes, however.
The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) said the roadworks would not disrupt Luas services or delay the start of the light rail scheme on June 30th. The agency's board is due to approve plans to allow pensioners travel free on the service tomorrow.
However, an RPA spokesman said: "Until the board formally signs off we are not in a position to go through the detail."