Southside redesign of Metro to cost up to €35m
Two options drawn up to avoid closure of road linking Ranelagh and Rathmines
The NTA came under significant pressure from senior politicians, including Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy, to scrap the road closure plans Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Redesigning the MetroLink rail line to prevent the closure of a road linking Ranelagh and Rathmines in south Dublin will cost up to €35 million, according to National Transport Authority (NTA) documents.
The NTA has redrawn plans for the line, published last March, following opposition from politicians and local residents’ groups to the closure of the through-road from Dunville Avenue to Beechwood Road.
The plans for the metro, which will run from Swords to Sandyford, serving Dublin Airport and the city centre, propose an upgrading of the current Luas Green line to metro status.
The road closure was necessary to remove the level crossing at the Beechwood Luas stop the NTA said, in order to make the Metro fully segregated from the roadway so trains could run every two minutes at higher speeds.
However, the authority came under significant pressure from senior politicians, including Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy, to scrap the road closure plans which would force motorists into a 1.2km detour through Ranelagh village and some of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the south of the city.
The NTA has drawn up two options to avoid closing the road. One involves the construction of a rail bridge over the road, the other would see the construction of a railway “cutting” allowing the train to travel under the road.
Documents prepared by the NTA state that both options require more design work, but would add in the region of €25-€35 million to the line’s €3 billion budget.
However, Labour senator Kevin Humphreys said both options should be rejected.
“The bridge option is unacceptable. It would lead to further inconvenience for residents with noise pollution travelling over a much wider distance from an elevated line.”
Sending the train under the road raised engineering difficulties and safety concerns he said. “This part of the road has been flooded in the past and it’s unclear how they will resolve that. But there’s also a worry, particularly if there will be unmanned trains on the line, of the train being briefly underground, only to emerge again.”
The only way forward is for the line to remain underground on the southside as well as the northside
The best solution, Mr Humphreys said, was to continue the tunnelled section of the line, which in the current plans ends at Charlemont north of Ranelagh, throughout the southside.
“The only way forward is for the line to remain underground on the southside as well as the northside. What we’ve been shown so far in terms of other solutions has been haphazard and given to us in a drip, drip feed of information.”
The NTA said it plans to complete the designs later this month, with a view to releasing the revised line for public consultation.