Construction of the “missing link” of the Dublin Bay cycle path is to start in six weeks time, more than a decade since planning of the route began.
Dublin City Council plans to spend in the region of €5 million to fill in the missing 2km section of its flagship cycle route from the Wooden Bridge to Causeway Road in Clontarf.
Work is due to begin on April 1st and will take 18 months to complete, with construction taking place in phases to comply with bird habitat conservation regulations.
The new path will be the first section of the planned Sutton to Sandycove cycleway to be built.
The full route crosses three local authority boundaries and is likely to take several years to construct. Once complete, it will provide a 22km continuous off-road cycle route around the bay and would be one of the longest coastal promenades in Europe.
The Department of Transport has allocated €1.5 million to kick-start construction of the section, which will close the 2km gap in the current promenade and cycle path from Clontarf to Sutton.
The path was put in place by the council in the early 1990s but a space was left between the Causeway Road and the Wooden Bridge because no solution could be found to building on the environmentally sensitive lagoon.
As a result, cyclists heading south have to leave the off-road path at the traffic lights at the Wooden Bridge and use the on-road cycle path on Clontarf Road which is in extremely poor repair and frequently occupied by parked cars.
Cyclists can return to the path 300m short of the causeway, but must cross two lanes of traffic at a point not governed by signals.
After several years in development a plan was finalised in 2008 that involved a pile-supported promenade and cable-stay bridging out over the lagoon.
Its cost was up to €14 million, or €7 million per kilometre, and it was never implemented.
The new scheme will cost less than half that and will involve no construction over the lagoon. Instead the road will be reduced to a three-metre width in each direction.
The council said this is consistent with National Roads Authority guidelines and will not cause traffic delays.
The work will also involve footpath and road resurfacing, sea wall repairs, and 2km of trunk water main, and the old tram shelter on Clontarf Road will be rebuilt.