Residents threaten legal action over Sandymount’s Strand Road

Residents say noise levels on coastal road pose serious health risk

Sandymount residents are threatening legal action against Dublin City Council for allowing “dangerous and damaging” noise levels on the coastal Strand Road.

The road is the loudest in the city according to the council’s own monitoring equipment and has breached levels which “threaten health” under the council’s noise policy.

Residents said the road, which leads to Dublin Port from the south of the city, is the de facto “unfinished section of the M50″. They are warning the council not to allow the return of two-way traffic to the road, which is currently under single-lane restriction due to Irish Water works.

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The road that runs along Dublin Bay has been at the centre of a long-running dispute over the council’s plans to install a cycle path, which would require a one-way traffic system on the road.

Local resident Peter Carvill, of the Serpentine Avenue, Tritonville and Claremont Roads (STC) group, and Independent councillor Mannix Flynn took a High Court challenge against the council. The court ruled the council needed planning permission for the path. The council is appealing the court’s ruling.

Since last month, Strand Road has been partially restricted to one lane of traffic for Irish Water works. The watermains replacement programme is due to continue until the middle of next year, but Strand Road residents said the council must not allow the return of two-way traffic once the waterworks are completed.

In a letter to the council, the residents, who were not part of the STC group or the court action, note that of the 15 council noise monitors installed on roads in the city, Strand Road has “by far” the highest readings.

Noise thresholds

“The data shows that noise levels on Strand Road are excessive and undesirable as defined by DCC’s own Noise Agglomeration Policy,” it said. “The noise levels on Strand Road are in excess of these stated thresholds and pose a serious risk to the health of Strand Road residents.”

The council noise policy dictates that where noise thresholds are breached, these roads would be targeted for “priority action” to reduce noise levels.

“We believe DCC should pause any plans to return any part of Strand Road to an unrestricted two-way traffic flow until it considers fully and determines what ‘Priority Action’ should be taken to ensure Strand Road’s noise levels do not cause harm to the residents there,” the letter said.

“If DCC attempts to return Strand Road to undesirable and excessive noise levels, and based on legal advice we have received, we will have no option but to take legal action to ensure the local authority abides by its own policy, as passed by the elected members.”

Strand Road resident Simon Coyle said the excessive levels of traffic, particularly large lorries on Strand Road, were due to its use as the southern access route to Dublin Port. Despite a ban on heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) with five axles or more from using the road to reach the port, they continued to take the route to avoid the M50.

“A chunk of Merrion Road and all of Strand Road and Beach Road is essentially the unfinished section of the M50 with unfettered traffic which is continuing and growing,” he said.

The “Armageddon forecast” when the restrictions were implemented for the water works has not materialised, he said. “There were dire predictions that if Strand Road was restricted, the surrounding streets would be choked with traffic, and we wouldn’t want to impose on anyone else what has been imposed on us, but it hasn’t happened – the traffic has dissipated.”

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times