Local group opposes proposed bridge over Dodder

 

A proposed new public transport bridge over the River Dodder near where it enters the Liffey has run into local opposition.

The proposed bridge, linking the Dublin Docklands area with the Poolbeg peninsula would destroy the village identity of Ringsend and choke that part of the city with extra traffic, according to an environment group in the area.

The bridge, which is currently under design and is favoured in principle by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, will join Sir John Rogerson's Quay on the south bank of the Liffey and Ringsend, Irishtown and Poolbeg.

According to the docklands authority, which has planning authority in the area, the bridge over the Dodder will be reserved for public transport, plus taxis, cyclists, pedestrians and emergency services, and will not cater for private cars or goods vehicles. However some locals feel that any vehicular link will ruin the atmosphere of the area.

"I think it would have a terrible effect on Ringsend and the whole area," said Damian Cassidy, of the Ringsend Irishtown and Sandymount Environment Group.

"It would ruin the village identity and we are being forced into this without any real consultation process. We were told after the construction of the East Link Bridge that we would have no more bridges in the area but now they are forcing this on us," said Mr Cassidy.

"Why are they doing this to us? The council consulted with the people of Ballymun and other parts of the city during their regeneration programmes but not with us on this . . . I believe this bridge is a precursor for the provision of an incinerator into Poolbeg."

Local resident and Green Party TD John Gormley suspects that the longer-term use of the bridge may be used for all traffic, not just buses and taxis. "If it was a Luas bridge I would have no problem, but my fear is that they start with the best intentions with public transport only but eventually would end up accommodating cars," said Mr Gormley.

"This is a matter of trust and confidence in the Dublin Docklands Development Authority and frankly I just don't have it. There is a need for much more information to be made available to people."

The docklands authority accepted that the bridge was one of its key objectives in opening up the Poolbeg peninsula for development but argued that the bridge would not have a detrimental effect on the area.

"Because this bridge will be exclusively for public transport, it will have a minimal effect on traffic there," said the dockland authority's chief planner Jerry Barnes. "In fact, this will have a positive influence in the area in providing extra public transport and giving pedestrians and cyclists improved access to the city.

"There are always concerns when any piece of infrastructure is proposed. That is understandable. But there is no real cause for concern in this instance," said Mr Barnes. "It is linked to the development of Poolbeg and is important in relation to that."

He said the developers, Dunloe Ewart, had submitted plans for the bridge about 18 months ago.