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Under Construction

"In the future it will be good, so I won't complain": Dubliners on the new Luas

Business owners are happy to put up with the noise and construction work in anticipation of more customers when the line finally opens.

DAWSON ST IN Dublin’s St centre is a busy thoroughfare that’s home to many hidden gems.

From upscale eateries to tiny pubs, with a smattering of cosy cafés and even the Lord Mayor’s residence, it’s a vibrant spot in the city.

From Tuesday of this week, if you find yourself near Dawson St you’ll hear it before you see it, thanks to the ongoing Luas utility works.

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At a total cost of €368 million, the new lines will be operational in 2017.

But to get to that point, the construction work has to be done:

(Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube)

The works are the latest phase in the Luas Cross City project, which will eventually see the existing green and red Luas lines being linked up.

It’s a union that Luas users have wanted since the two lines were first installed, so it’s a long time coming for the city. Right now, the construction staff are working to put the utility works in the places where the lines are due to be laid.

Its intense work, so TheJournal.ie headed to Dawson St to see what impact it’s having on businesses there.

Celtic Whiskey Shop

At the Celtic Whiskey Shop, the staff were busy sorting out orders as the drilling work went on outside.

The work has meant changes to the traffic, parking, loading and taxi ranks on the street, which in turn impacts on businesses.

Al Higgins of the Celtic Whiskey Shop told us about how they’ve been getting on:

(Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube)

He added: “It’s not the worst at the moment but the worst is yet to come – but these things have to be done.”

He was happy with the interaction between the stakeholders involved in the Luas Cross City and the local business owners.

“So far it’s very good – they are working with everyone to make sure it all goes as smoothly as possible,” he said, adding that there are some new people on the street “who may be less aware of what’s going on”.

Overall, he thinks that there’s “a bit of a nice community spirit amongst everyone” on Dawson St.

What about the customers?

Jin Xu, manager of the coffee shop the Beanhive, said that the impact is “bad for now”- but she’s looking forward to the end result.

“You can see customers across the road won’t come in,” she said, pointing out the metal barriers protecting the public from the Luas works.

Overall, she welcomes the works, saying that “in the future it will be good, so I won’t complain”.

Xu also said that she hoped if the “shops look good”, people passing by on the Luas may be tempted in when the line is finally open.

Dawson Lounge

The Dawson Lounge is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it tiny pub near the St Stephen’s Green end of the street.

Given its basement location, it’s not affected by the noise, but as barman Derek Duffy explained, the works are having another impact:

(Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube)

He said that he feels the completed Luas line will “open the street more”:

At the moment the street is basically traffic, and the traffic coming around there [the corner by St Stephen's Green] is a bit crazy. Hopefully with the Luas coming one way, the traffic flow might ease off a bit and then it will make it more people-friendly, there will be more people walking about.

Hodges Figgis

Tony Hayes is bookshop manager for Hodges Figgis, which is located at the end of Dawson St that meets Nassau St.

The works haven’t yet made their way down there, and he says that so far there has been “no impact at all” despite the changes to parking, loading bays and lanes.

(Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube)

Hayes described it as “a little inconvenience for the longterm good of the street itself”, and felt that the construction of the new line was “very exciting”.

We’re looking forward to the work being carried on to completion,” he said. “We’re very excited about the Luas coming down Dawson St.

He also mentioned how the stores on the street could benefit from the new people that will be using the Luas.

“It’s an opportunity for us to capitalise on their spending power and bring them to the oldest bookshop in Ireland and one of the biggest bookshops in Ireland,” he said.

Read: Here’s how Dawson St will be affected by the Luas works>

Read: Changes to roads, taxi ranks, as latest Luas Cross City works begin>

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