No early Metro North, warns transport chief

by Sylvia Pownall
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THE National Transport Authority (NTA) has dashed hopes of an early delivery for the 17km Metro North light-rail line.
Officials told councillors at a seminar in Swords on Monday that construction of the revived €2.5bn project cannot begin before 2021.
NTA deputy chief executive Hugh Creegan said: “We may be able to shave some months off it as we go along, but I don’t want to promise that we can shave years off it – I don’t believe that’s possible.”
Politicians told of locals’ frustration about the delayed project, which was first mooted over a decade ago as part of the Government’s Transport 21 vision.
Referring to the Luas link-up, Deputy Darragh O’Brien (FF) said: “The only transport project that has been delivered in the last six or seven years has effectively benefited the southside of Dublin.”
Metro North is expected to get the Government green light later this year and move to public consultation in 2018, with work due to start in 2021 and finish in 2026/27.
Chairing Monday’s seminar, Fingal Mayor Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) said the project needed to be fast-tracked to allow for future development of lands at Lissenhall in north Swords.
Ed Hearne, Fingal County Council’s director of Economic, Enterprise and Tourism, spoke about how Metro North will underpin the economic growth of the county.
He added: “A decision on the early delivery of Metro North can bring the certainty and confidence to unlock further investment and deliver a transformative economic impact for Fingal and the Dublin region.”
Revamped proposals unveiled last year reduced the size of trams from 90m to 60m – twice the size of Luas trams – allowing for more frequent services, with up to 30 trams an hour.
Sections of the line close to the city and the airport are expected to run underground, with others on elevated tracks.
Journey times of 19 minutes between Dublin Airport and the city centre are expected once Metro North is completed, with more than 30 million people projected to use the service annually.

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