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Luas Green line metro upgrade not needed for 20 years, NTA says

The upgrade of the Luas Green line to a metro service will not be needed “for 20 years or so” the National Transport Authority (NTA) has said.

The NTA has today confirmed the MetroLink line, which had been due to run from Swords to Sandyford, will terminate at Charlemont north of Ranelagh, where it meets the Luas Green line.

Last March, the NTA announced plans for the line which would connect Dublin Airport to the city by rail, with the construction of new track from Swords to Charlemont, and an upgrade of the Luas Green line between Charlemont and Sandyford.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross last month said he would “not countenance” significant disruption to the Luas line and any plan which “requires an unacceptable level of shutdowns” to the Luas service would “not be tolerated”.

The NTA said it will tunnel past the Charlemont stop to allow the conversion of the Luas to metro “to occur at an appropriate point in the future” but the upgrade would not be required “for some time – perhaps twenty years or so”.

The new route will also see a station construction site in Glasnevin moved from lands owned by Na Fianna GAA club on St Mobhi Road to an adjacent training pitch belonging to Home Farm Football Club, following complaints by the GAA which were backed by Mr Varadkar. A tunnel boring machine, due to enter the ground at this site, will be moved to Ballymun.

The NTA today said the Home Farm station would be “more compact” than previously planned which would reduce the construction time from seven years to three years. There will be “no impact” on the Na Fianna pitches it said.

The revised route will also see reduced disruption to traffic in the city centre, the NTA said. The proposed station at St Stephen’s Green East will be moved slightly south and west to avoid the closure of Hume Street during construction However, St Stephen’s Green park itself “will be impacted to a small extent as a result”.

At O’Connell Street the proposed station will be moved to underneath the old Carlton cinema and the vacant plot beside it, where a shopping centre is planned stretching from O’Connell Street to Moore Street. The previous station location in the middle of the street, “would have presented a significant challenge to Luas services, bus services, and vehicular traffic on O’Connell Street” the NTA said.

However, the NTA still plans to go ahead with plans to demolish the College Gate apartment block and Markievicz leisure centre on Townsend Street to facilitate an underground station at Tara Street.

It said it did investigate alternatives, including locating the station under the Hawkins House development site, but “reluctantly concluded” demolishing the block of 70 apartments and the swimming pool, remained “the most feasible option”. It has however, reversed plans to demolish the smaller Court apartment building at Dalcassian Downs in Glasnevin.

The new route will be available for public consultation from today. The NTA expects to make an application to An Bord Pleanála for MetroLink next year, with construction expected to take six to seven years.

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