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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 26 June, 2019
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Metrolink construction could close section of Royal Canal cycling Greenway for up to three years

A cycling group has called on the NTA to alter its plans for the Glasnevin Station.

Image: National Transport Authority

THE CONSTRUCTION OF one of the new stations for the Metrolink would close a section of the Royal Canal’s cycling Greenway for up to three years.

The Dublin Cycling Campaign has hit out at plans by the National Transport Authority (NTA) to close part of the Greenway in Phibsborough to facilitate the construction of the new Glasnevin station.

The station will be located near Cross Guns Bridge, and is considered by the NTA to be a “key station” on the line because it will be situated at a point between the Phoenix Park Tunnel line and the Maynooth line.

It is planned that the station will provide an interchange for passengers using both lines, which comprise the north-western line from Sligo/Maynooth to Dublin, and the southwestern commuter line from Newbridge/ Hazelhatch to Grand Canal Dock.

Station2 The proposed Glasnevin Station beside the Royal Canal Source: Metrolink

No interchange between the two lines, which respectively serve Dublin’s Connolly and Heuston stations, currently exists, meaning there is no rail link between trains serving the northern and southern halves of Ireland.

But the Dublin Cycling Campaign has claimed that the temporary closure of the Greenway at the Royal Canal would be counterproductive because it would create a barrier for people looking for an alternative to travelling into Dublin by car.

The Greenway, which is still under construction, aims to provide a “first-class multi-purpose off-road walking and cycling link” from the River Liffey to the Shannon in Longford.

However, the 2.25km section of the Greenway at Cross Guns Bridge to Broombridge in Cabra, which would be affected by the construction of the station, has not yet been completed.

‘Vital corridor’

The Dublin Cycling Campaign says that Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the state agency designing the MetroLink, has not proposed any alternative arrangements for pedestrians and cyclists during the construction of the station.

“The Royal Canal Greenway is one of the few safe and traffic free cycle routes in the city,” said Paul Corcoran, the group’s chairperson.

“It is a vital corridor for commuter cyclists in the north and west of the city, as well as a family-friendly amenity.

“Options exist that would maintain the walking and cycle route during construction.”

The group called for a solution to be found, including the possible construction of a bridge over the Royal Canal that would re-direct the Greenway onto the south bank of the canal during its construction.

Corcoran said that the group doesn’t “think anyone could predict how long it will take” to build the Metrolink, and that their worst case scenario is it will take six years. 

He said they are also worried about the provision made for cyclists during the period that alternative arrangements are made.

“We’re worried about the trucks that are going to be bringing in cement for the construction phase,” he said.

They want high visibility trucks only allowed in this area. 

“They can put in extra provision and block off part of the road, build extra paths there but if you’re going to do it back it up and provide the necessary space for vulnerable road users.”

Alternative route

However, a spokesman for the NTA said the six-year figure being used by the Dublin Cycling Campaign was inaccurate.

The authority did not provide an estimate for how long it would take to construct the Glasnevin station, but suggested it would take half that time at most.

The spokesman said:

The claim that there will be six years’ disruption is not accurate. Individual stations will typically take 2-3 years to complete. For the duration of any disruption to the Greenway, we will put in place an alternative route nearby for cyclists and pedestrians.
In that regard, we will consider any proposals, including the one put forward by the Dublin Cycling Campaign.

A public consultation on the Metrolink proposals is currently open, and finishes on 21 May.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2021, with first services to begin operation from 2027.

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