THE decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant a railway order to allow construction of the Luas Broombridge line has received a broad welcome across the Northside.
It’s expected that construction of the new line running from the Green Line terminus at St Stephen’s Green through the city centre, Phibsborough, Cabra and Grangegorman will generate 800 jobs and cost in the region of e370 million.
The new Luas BxD, which is almost 6km in length with 13 stops, will offer an end to end journey time of 24 minutes and is expected to attract an additional eight million passenger journeys on Luas each year.
The project was first officially announced in 2005 as part of the ‘Transport 21’ investment strategy that was geared to deliver a world-class transport system including Metro North and Dart Underground.
However, last November the Government announced that Luas BxD would be the only one of the three major transport projects that would get the go-ahead before 2016.
The Grangegorman Development Agency (GDA) welcomed the news earlier this month and said the new line would open up the new Grangegorman quarter to the greater Dublin area.
“We intend to bring 20,000 students to the Dublin 7 area but we also want others to come and experience the new urban quarter in Grangegorman,” said Chief Executive Officer of the GDA, Mr Michael Hand.
“Providing quality public transport such as Luas makes Grangegorman more accessible and thus more attractive as a destination.”
The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) said granting of the railway order marked a significant milestone in the creation of a high quality, integrated public transport network for Dublin.
RPA’s Director of Light Rail, Michael Sheedy, described granting of the order as “great news” for Luas and for commuters in Dublin.
“Luas Broombridge is RPA’s most important project,” he said.
“It will form the foundation of a high quality integrated network which will significantly reduce the current high reliance on the private car. We will now be working closely with our colleagues in the National Transport Authority and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to progress delivery of this much needed infrastructure.”
The Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) said the new Luas line would provide a vital transport link to the new unified DIT campus at Grangegorman and a direct one-stop link to the DIT sports facilities at Broombridge.
“This is a really important piece of city infrastructure and will underpin the development of the new DIT city-centre campus that will be only two Luas stops from O’Connell Street,” said Professor Brian Norton.
“The new Luas line will provide a link from the existing Green Line in the south and the Red Line in the west of the city, directly to DIT at Broadstone, as well as linking to mainline rail on the Maynooth line.
“Integrating transport links in this way makes good sense, offers people options, encourages greater use of public transport and will be a major addition to Dublin city.”
Commuters, shoppers and tourists will all benefit from the new line, according to the Dublin Chamber of Commerce who said it would help bring the city’s business districts on both sides of the Liffey even closer.
“The development of this Luas line is a ‘missing link’ for public transport in the region as a whole,” said spokesperson, Gina Quin.
“Luas BxD will join the Luas lines and also link the north and south side of Dublin city centre in an important way which will improve life for commuters, shoppers, and tourists.
“When we link up our transport network more effectively, we give passengers greater options on where they can get to in the city and create more value for the public transport network as a whole.”
Construction on the new line will not officially begin until financing is arranged. However, Dublin City Council has progressed with work on a new public transport bridge designed to carry the new Luas southbound line across the Liffey.
Construction of the Marlborough Street Bridge commenced in April and will take approximately 18 months to complete.
Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar, said he has instructed the RPA to begin work on the line immediately with the intention that construction can commence in the near future.
“The Business Case for Luas BXD needs to be updated to take into account the changes made by An Board Pleanála,” he added.
“However I am confident that the business case remains robust and I expect that the arrangements for advance works and tendering will be finalised as soon as possible.”