Costs to State for scrapped metro project to top €150m


TRANSPORT:THE DECISION not to proceed with the Metro North rail project as part of the 2012-2016 capital investment programme will cost the State more than €150 million, including compensation to the project bidders.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar yesterday confirmed that Dublin’s cross-city Luas line would be the only “big ticket” project to go ahead in the next five years, with the Metro and Dart Underground postponed indefinitely.

The Department of Transport will spend €4,646 million on capital projects over the next five years, a cut of €1,045 million on the National Recovery Plan figures published just one year ago.

The bulk of the money will be spent on road and public transport. However, much of this will be used to upgrade infrastructure, including the replacement of the Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann fleets, and on road maintenance.

More than €150 million has already been spent on planning and preparation for the Metro North and just under €40 million has been spent on the Dart Underground. Mr Varadkar confirmed yesterday that €1 million each would have to be paid out to the two shortlisted bidders to construct the project. The State could also face a legal challenge from the two consortiums Celtic Metro Group and MetroExpress for its decision to cancel the project, he said.

The Luas BXD line, which will run from St Stephen’s Green to the Iarnród Éireann rail station at Broombridge, Cabra, was due to be completed in 2016 but will not now begin construction until 2015 and is due for completion by 2019.

The €270 million, 5.6km line will run from the terminus of the green line at St Stephen’s Green to O’Connell Street, connecting with the red line. It will then run northwest to Grangegorman, where the new DIT campus was to have been located, and on to Phibsboro before terminating at Broombridge station.

Unlike the Metro, Luas BXD does not yet have planning permission from An Bord Pleanála. Money spent already on Metro and Dart Underground was not “entirely wasted” he said as either project might go ahead at some future stage. In future “huge amounts of money” would not be spent planning and designing projects “if we don’t know we can afford to build them”, he said.

The €850 million M20 motorway between Cork and Limerick will not go ahead, although the N11 Rathnew-Arklow/ Newlands Cross link and the Enfield to Edenderry improvement scheme are due to start next year. The Ballaghaderreen bypass in Co Roscommon will go ahead but is the only bypass that will be funded over the next five years.