Revised Metro North plan may be greenlit

by Gazette Reporter
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A REVISED version of Metro North – which was among six options shortlisted as a transport option for north Dublin last year – is now a strong contender for development, according to reports.
When announcing the shortlist last year, a spokesperson from the Department of Transport said the metro proposal is “an optimised Metro North”.
He said: “It’s coming in cheaper than [the original proposal], it’s not a tunnel all the way, there is some over-ground around the Ballymun Road and there are some savings because there are not as many stations.”
In addition, while the project was coming in cheaper, it would still provide an adequate solution to transport issues around Swords and Dublin airport, he said.
It has been reported that sources have said the metro has emerged as the preferred option, but that no final decisions have been made. The Department intends announcing the decision along as part of the Capital Plan for 2016 next week.
Meanwhile, Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe has said Dart services will be extended from Malahide to serve the communities of Donabate, Rush, Lusk, Skerries, and Balbriggan as part of an overall plan to improve the service.
He made this announcement in tandem with the revelation that the Dart underground project would not proceed as planned, but would be redesigned to be more cost-effective.
The estimate for the current underground option is €3bn, and the cost for the currently envisaged Dart Expansion Programme is €4bn (this includes the €3bn underground project).
This decision has been made in the context of preparations for the next Capital Plan from 2016, the details of which are being finalised.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) was asked to review the Dart underground along with updating the long-term transport strategy for the Greater Dublin Area.
The NTA recommended that the project be redesigned to provide a lower-cost technical solution, while retaining the required rail connectivity.
The Minister endorses the NTA recommendations, and intends to provide funding in the new capital plan to progress redesign and planning for the revised project.
Senator Darragh O’Brien (FF) said this was a “huge step backwards for Dublin”.
He said: “The Dart Underground is an essential piece of infrastructure that would transform our public transport network, by radically increasing capacity, dramatically improving the customer experience, and finally allowing Dublin to compete with other capital cities in terms of public transport.”
Minister Donohoe intends to provide funding for other elements of the overall Dart Expansion Programme, including electrification of the northern line to extend the Dart to Balbriggan, and works to increase frequency of existing services.

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