The National Transport Authority (NTA) is due to submit a formal planning application to An Bord Pleanála in the coming weeks in relation to new bus corridors and cycling infrastructure planned under the BusConnects project.
The NTA said it expects to submit the application in the second quarter of this year. Meanwhile, the phased implementation of the new bus network which involves changing bus routes across Dublin is due to commence in April or May, the NTA said, but that is “depending on Covid restrictions”.
The BusConnects programme, which aims to overhaul the bus system in Dublin, has two main components: creating 230km of dedicated bus lanes in tandem with 200km of cycle tracks, and redesigning the bus network.
Final plans for the creation of 16 continuous bus corridors and segregated cycle lanes were put out for public consultation at the end of last year. The development of these requires the felling of more than 3,000 trees and the acquisition of parts of around 720 front gardens.
Construction is scheduled to begin on a phased basis from next year, with each route taking approximately two years to complete. All 16 corridors are not expected to be completed until 2027.
The Greenhills to city centre corridor is set to see the largest number of front gardens affected (120), while the highest number of trees (732) would be felled on the Bray to city centre corridor.
The NTA said the “vast majority of what may be considered landmark, long term and established mature trees along many of the city’s streets and suburbs will not be impacted”.
The latest expenditure figures for the BusConnects project show that €55 million was spent between 2018 to the end of last year, with environmental and traffic impact assessment services for the 16 corridors costing €12 million.
Under the proposed network a lettering system from A to H will identify eight "spines" through the city. Numbers will be used to indicate different branches of a spine. For example, while all A buses will pass through Terenure, the A1 will continue to Knocklyon while the A2 will go to Tallaght.
These spines will be complemented by 12 orbital routes (lettered O, N, S, W) for passengers travelling in the outskirts of the city centre and providing connections between the suburbs and connections to rail, Luas and other bus routes.
The spines and orbital routes are supported by a number of local routes (L), city-bound routes (1-99), peak-only routes (P) and express routes (X).
The NTA says the plans will lead to faster journey times, high-frequency services on busy routes and an easy-to-understand network. It says overall the level of bus services in the Dublin network will increase by 23 per cent as a result of the changes.