A major missing link in the provision of cycling infrastructure across Dublin bay will be in place within two years, under plans from Dublin Port Company.
The off-road route will take cyclists from the Tolka river estuary opposite Clontarf to the Liffey quayside, and will enable Dublin City Council and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to finally complete the Sutton to Sandycove (S2S) cycleway.
Dublin Port will next April apply to the city council for permission for the cycle route which will run within port lands opposite East Wall Road, the access road for the Dublin Port Tunnel.
“This is probably the most hostile stretch of urban roadway in the city,” port company chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly said. “It’s noisy, dusty and not anywhere you would currently want to walk or cycle. The Liffey-Tolka Project will see us complete a brand new area of public realm that will be a much more pleasant place to move through.”
The 1.4km route will start at the Tolka estuary at Bond Road, beside Eastpoint Business Park, and move south towards Promenade Road, which it will cross on a new cycle and pedestrian bridge. It will then continue through the port lands parallel to Eastwall Road, as far as the roundabout before the East Link bridge where it meets the Liffey side cycle path.
The footpath, currently a maximum of 2m wide, will be extended to create a 12m cycling and pedestrian space lined with 140 trees to mitigate noise and air pollution.Work on the cycle route, which is being designed by Grafton Architects, is expected to begin next September and be completed by the end of 2022.
‘Next obvious step’
The path will then be available to link up to the council’s cycle paths, Mr O’Reilly said. “It opens up the possibility of an extension of cycling infrastructure to the Alfie Byrne Road. That would be the next obvious step.”
The S2S project, the continuous Dublin Bay cycle route, was proposed in 2002 and runs south of Sutton Cross, along the Clontarf coast, ending on Alfie Byrne Road before Eastpoint Business Park. Segregated cyclepaths have recently been installed along the coast between Blackrock and Sandycove by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, as part of Covid-19 mobility measures, and the city council will open a cycleway along Strand Road in Sandymount in January. Planning for a link from the Merrion Gates at the southern end of Strand Road to Blackrock is expected to begin shortly.
The port company will also begin construction next month on the Tolka Estuary Greenway, a 3.2km route along the northern perimeter of Dublin Port starting again at Bond Road and terminating at the east end of the docks. This scheme is due for completion in early 2022.
The Liffey-Tolka project was “the most important port-city integration project to date”, Mr O’Reilly said, and would facilitate access to several port tourism projects. “We have cut the Gordian knot of the complex challenge to open up Dublin Port to Dubliners.”