A revised route for the Dublin MetroLink rail line will be published within weeks, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has said.
This follows a week where the chief executive of Fingal County Council Paul Reid called for the northside section of the line to be built independently of the southside leg, due to ongoing delays in determining the route south of Ranelagh. South Dublin County Council also called for the line to be diverted to Rathfarnham instead of running to Sandyford.
It emerged last December that an application to build the rail line from Swords to Sandyford is unlikely to be made until 2020 due to delays in revising the route for the southside section.
Transport authorities had been due to announce the redesigned route of the line last August, but postponed their decision, and had been expected to publish the route details by last November.
However, publication of the revised route was further delayed to allow time to design an extension of the underground section past Ranelagh in south Dublin.
The additional tunnelling was likely to add more than €100 million to the cost of the €3 billion line.
The revised alignment is now expected to be published in early March, the NTA has confirmed.
The preferred route of the metro line, which combines the previously planned Metro North from Swords to the city centre with an upgrade of the Luas Green line between Charlemont and Sandyford, was first announced last March.
However, in the subsequent months the transport authorities came under pressure from senior politicians – including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy – as well as the GAA to alter the route.
The route had involved the use of Na Fianna GAA club and adjoining school pitches on St Mobhi Road in Glasnevin for a major construction site. Mr Varadkar last May said the proposals would cause “enormous damage” to the schools and sports clubs that use the Glasnevin lands.
It had also required the closure of a road linking Rathmines and Ranelagh in south Dublin. Mr Murphy asked the transport bodies to scrap plans to close the level crossing from Dunville Avenue to Beechwood Road in Ranelagh, which would force motorists into a 1.2km detour.
The transport authorities initially prepared two solutions for the Dunville Avenue crossing; one involved 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. These options would have added in the region of €25-€35 million to the line’s €3 billion budget.
However, these options were not acceptable locally, and the authorities are planning to extend the tunnel, which was due to end at the current Luas Charlemont stop north of Ranelagh, south, past the Dunville Avenue junction.
Lands belonging to Home Farm Football Club are expected to be used instead of the GAA lands.
In the city centre residents in the College Gate apartment block on Townsend Street are fighting against the proposed demolition of their 70 homes, and the Markievicz leisure centre underneath the apartments.The block was last March earmarked for demolition for the construction of an underground station for the line.
While in Milltown, one of the most expensive fee-paying schools in the State, Alexandra College, has said it will resist attempts to close an entrance and take some land for the line.