National children’s hospital board at odds with NTA over BusConnects

Board disputes NTA claim engagement took place over proposed corridor near new site

Concerns have been expressed in the locality of St James’s Hospital, where the new children’s hospital is being built, about the impact of the bus plan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Concerns have been expressed in the locality of St James’s Hospital, where the new children’s hospital is being built, about the impact of the bus plan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The board of the national children’s hospital raised concerns about the impact of the proposed BusConnects plan in the area at a private meeting earlier year, new documents reveal.

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board claimed in a meeting in February that there had been no engagement with the National Transport Authority (NTA) on a proposed new corridor affecting access to the site despite claims to the contrary.

The documents, which were released under Freedom of Information legislation, also show “variances” in budget pricings between different teams working on the controversial hospital building project, which may have to go to “conciliation for resolution”.

The BusConnects plan comprises a substantial redrawing the capital’s bus network. It would see the creation of 230km of bus lanes and 200km of cycle lanes on 16 of the busiest bus corridors in and out of the city centre.

Concerns have been expressed in the locality of St James’s Hospital, where the new children’s hospital is being built, about the impact of the bus plan.

Mount Brown and Old Kilmainham Road are too narrow to accommodate both bus lanes and general traffic lanes. This means Mount Brown would have to be restricted to public transport, cyclists and local access.

“It was agreed with the NTA/Bus Connects that engagement would take place before any proposals would be lodged to public consultation. This did not happen,” a minuted meeting of hospital board members states.

“NTA/BusConnects state within their public document that they have worked with the stakeholders on the St James’s Hospital campus at arriving at the proposal to place a bus gate on Mount Brown/Old Kilmainham Road. This is not correct.”

Joint submission

The document states that a joint submission is to be made by the board and hospital regarding the bus gate proposals and “the impact on the campus”.

“Whilst it is acknowledged that the BusConnects project will support the objectives of the mobility management plan, there are significant impacts that will need to be mitigated with BusConnects before any of these could be implemented.

“BusConnects will impact on the proposed works to be undertaken at the St James’s entrance,” it adds.

The minutes of subcommittee meetings also details how managers of the project are implementing “early warning trackers” to deal with financial claims from contractors as the board attempts to keep the project within budget.

There are also “regular structured risk workshops to ensure risks are managed within the budget”.

The cost of the new national children’s hospital rose from an estimated €800 million in 2014 to €983 million in 2017, and €1.43 billion now. With IT costs, this reaches €1.73 billion and does not include the cost of family accommodation, a research centre, excess construction inflation and any other changes to clinical standards.