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Artist's illustration of one of the underground Metrolink stations at Tara Street in Dublin city centre.
Down Under

Firms tell planning hearing Metrolink tunnel will hit building basements unless plans redrawn

Solicitors claimed the reports were based on plans of buildings that have been demolished.

TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE IRELAND (TII) has agreed to lower tunnels deeper into the ground during the construction of the Metrolink to avoid causing damage to buildings in the city centre.

Construction of the Metrolink is due to begin next year, at a cost between €9 billion and €23 billion, and will run from the southside of the city to the airport and beyond.

Two companies with buildings on the southside of the city today argued that plans for tunnels underneath them are unreliable and must be scrapped. They said the plans were based on previous buildings on the same sites.

A number of tunnels will be built underground as part of the stretch of rail between Ballymun, on the northside of the city, and the terminus stop, Charlemont, to the south.

a4_metrolinkmap_railwayorder-1 Current route of the Dublin Metrolink.

At a planning hearing in Dublin today, Irish Life and Hines Real Estate made submissions to An Bord Pleánala on TII’s damage assessment reports on the potential risks to their structures.

Solicitors for both parties argued that TII’s reports should be scrapped as they had been done using “ghost buildings” – the plans of buildings which had previously been demolished at the sites. One of these buildings was demolished four years ago and one was demolished 11 years ago.

tunnel Transport Infrastructure Ireland plans to tunnel underneath the city to build Metrolink stations and railways.

Both buildings now have two-storey baseements rather than a single storey underground but that was not taken into account by TII.

The anchors underneath Irish Life’s property, the Cadenza Building on Earlsfort Terrace, would be at least one metre inside the tunnel, based on the current plans.

TII claimed that alterations could be made under its substantial list of possible mitigation measures, which includes lowering the tunnels further into the ground.

TII’s representatives told the hearing they were not aware of the changes at the Cadenza building. However, barristers for Irish Life said the plans were approved in 2018 and the drawings had been available online since.

TII said it has changed its plans relating to Hines’ building on St Stephen’s Green, on foot of information that was passed onto the Metrolink project’s coordinators just last night.

tarast Artist interpretation of the underground station at Tara Street on the Northside of the city. Metrolink Metrolink

Metrolink representatives said that the damage reports remained valid. They did not confirm if the demolished buildings had been used when drawing up the reports.

Redrawn plans were then shown to the companies which lowered the tunnels at least five metres further into the ground.

TII said it would publish updated plans in relation to tunnelling under the Cadenza Building on Wednesday.

Last week, the Office of Public Works (OPW) told the hearing St Stephen’s Green could be severely damaged during the construction of the underground rail system.

It raised concerns over plans to move both the Famine Memorial and Wolfe Tone Monument, which have stood at the southeastern entrance of the park since the 1960s.

TII rejected claims that demolition would take place to the park.

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