PLANNING AUTHORITIES HAVE raised concerns over the planned connector between Dublin’s two Luas lines – saying it may have to be closed and even dismantled if other major construction projects go ahead.
The Luas BXD link-up was the only one of three significant public transport projects to get the green light in the Government’s review of capital spending last year. The other two, the Metro North and Dart Underground schemes, were shelved until economic conditions are better.
But in a letter to the Railway Procurement Agency, An Bord Pleanála has flagged potential problems. It says if authorities in the capital decided to continue with the other projects at a later date, the BXD link would have to be closed during the lengthy construction period.
The Luas connector was originally scheduled to be constructed after the two underground rail projects, meaning it could simply be built over the top. If the order is reversed, this would no longer be possible.
The letter identifies several sites where the projects would clash – on O’Connell Street, Westmoreland Street and Stephen’s Green. It states:
It is not clear to the Board that the approved Metro North underground infrastructure [...] can be constructed while maintaining an operational Luas BXD service at ground level, or that such an approach is viable from a technical or economic perspective.
The letter adds that planners would have “reservations about the acceptability” of a scenario under which the Luas line could be torn up only a short time after opening.
It asked the RPA to carry out further feasibility inspections and make submissions as to how the problems raised would be dealt with.