West Dublin facing choking road capacity issues by 2023
Call for new orbital route as congestion predicted to increase on M50, N4 and N7
Northbound traffic on the M50. A new report says the motorway will be the worst affected by increased congestion without more infrastructure. Photograph: Alan Betson
Major roads in west Dublin, including the M50, the N4 and the N7, will become even more choked with traffic by 2023 unless new infrastructure is put in place, according to a report from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).
The report, which looked at the N4/N7 corridor area, forecasts increased congestion and worsening delays at junctions on both local and national roads.
“Although there are significant committed road infrastructure investments in the study area that will have occurred in the time period 2013 to 2023, the performance of the road network will diminish by 2023,” the report stated.
“The National Road network will experience substantial increases in travel time and delay by 2023 with the M50 being worst affected while the N4 and N7 are also affected, albeit to a lesser (although still significant) extent.”
South Dublin County Council’s transportation committee was recently told by TII that a series of local junction upgrades and road schemes would need to be carried out for further traffic congestion to be avoided.
One proposal is to build a “western Dublin orbital route”, which would provide a link road between the N4 and N7 using either the existing Rathcoole interchange or a new interchange on the N7.
It is unclear where funding for such a project would come from. It is understood that TII wants the council to take the lead. But Fine Gael councillor William Lavelle, chairman of the transportation committee, said it should be included in a Government infrastructure programme.
“I fully support the need for this new road, which would reduce traffic volumes on the M50 and on the west Dublin local road network, particularly in Lucan,” Mr Lavelle said. This new road forms part of TII’s preferred strategy, he added, but do not “see themselves funding or delivering this road”.
He said: “With a review of the Government’s capital programme under way, I will be calling on the Government to include this road on the next capital programme, and to direct TII to take a lead in the design and planning of the new road.”
In 2014, an M50 demand study predicted the stretch of motorway between the N4 and N7 junctions would see an increase in annual average daily traffic to 143,000 by 2023. However, real-time data from NRAtraffic.ie shows the average had already hit 140,000 by 2016.
“West Dublin is already choked by chronic traffic congestion,” Mr Lavelle said. “Lucan has been very badly hit, particularly by traffic seeking to cross the Liffey in Lucan village to avoid M50 tolls. Lucan can’t handle much more traffic, which in turn undermines plans for major residential development in places such as Adamstown and Clonburris.”
As well as the orbital road, TII recommended a number of large roundabout junctions in west Dublin be upgraded to traffic light junctions.
An Bord Pleanála recently refused permission for a major expansion of the Liffey Valley Centre due to traffic congestion concerns.