Wednesday 20 September 2017

'It's going to be chaos' - Traffic disruption expected this Bank Holiday weekend due to Luas works

Commuters are facing travel chaos. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Commuters are facing travel chaos. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Cillian Sherlock

Ongoing Luas works have caused chaos in the city, according to the Irish Taxi Drivers Federation.

Those travelling around Dublin this bank holiday weekend will face significant disruptions in the city centre as ongoing Luas Cross City works will see a full closure of the south city quays at O’Connell Bridge starting today.

Drivers heading to Gaelic football and soccer matches over the weekend have been advised to avoid the city centre and take new routes.

"It has created untold disruption to traffic all over. It’s just chaos at times. The roads are like driving through a building site," said Joe Herron, President of the Irish Taxi Drivers Federation.

"People say they have an idea how it’s going to turn out but nobody knows for sure. It’s going to get worse. When you think about the limited amount of space for road traffic around Trinity, it’s going to be chaos.

"I also think of the absolute and total chaos that happens when the Luas has been involved in collisions with cars in the past. If that happens around that area at all you could lock up the city for day," he added.

Noel Dunne from Centra on Parnell Street has said he has seen businesses close due to the works.

"We have two big games on [this weekend]. The place is going to be bedlam. It’s going to add further traffic to our side of the city. It’s just crazy. Everyone is saying the same thing: planning, planning, planning. It beggars belief that they would do this with a double header on and a bank holiday," he said.

Mr Dunne said that while it will be a fantastic facility when it is finished, it has caused a lot of difficulty for business owners.

"It is just ridiculous, there’s no common sense. Footfall is down and it is going to get worse. There was no consultation with retailers and it has been a huge pain in a lot of cases. I’ve seen 3 or 4 businesses go out of business waiting for the works and they couldn’t survive," he added.

Barry Stephens, who runs 147 Deli on Parnell Street, said the new line will be great for the city but the works have been "really frustrating as a small business owner."

"I opened my doors four years ago and within 3 months we were penned in due to the works. It has been unbelievably bad. It’s bananas how slow it was," Mr Stephens said.

"For the first two years I was really patient and just thinking it is going to be brilliant for the city. But I started to notice how slow and disjointed it was," he said.

"The incompetence was just unbelievable. They laid the tracks and had to dig them up again. It was such a stresser," he added.

Dublin Chamber's Head of Public Affairs Graeme McQueen has said the city centre is "very much open for business this weekend".

"We would encourage people to use public transport – particularly those heading to matches in Croke Park and Aviva Stadium, which are both located beside train stations. If you do need to drive into the city, all car parks in the city centre remain open, with diversions in place," he said.

"There is no ideal time for works like this to take place, but early August is generally one of the quietest periods of the year for traffic in the city centre.

"The good news for all users of the city is that the conclusion of the Luas works is now in sight. The past 4 years have not been easy, but we’ll soon be reaping the benefits with the Luas up and running through the heart of the city," Mr McQueen added.

Details

Those heading to Croke Park are advised to Take M50 Northbound to Junction 3 use Swords Road or Dublin Tunnel to access Croke Park.

Liverpool and Athetic Bilbao fans are advised to take the M50 Southbound to Junction 14 and use Leopardstown Road, Brewery Road and Stillorgan Road to access the Aviva Stadium.

The College Green public transport corridor will temporarily be rescinded and will reopen for private cars for the duration of the works between Friday 4 August and Saturday 12 August.

O’Connell Bridge will remain open to northbound and southbound traffic but those travelling west will be directed onto D’Olier Street and then onto College Green.

Full depth road construction at Aston Quay and Burgh Quay will lead to full road closures, while there will be smaller works on Bachelor’s Walk and Ormond Quay’s Walk.

This construction will replace the temporary road surfaces with new resurfaced carriageways.

Graeme McQueen of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce has said the city centre has seen a lot of disruption during the works and that it is important it is finished soon.

“There is no ideal time to carry out the works but August is probably the best one with schools out and a lot of people off work on holidays so there will be less people travelling by car in the city centre.

“It is important the work is finished on time and the city centre is back up and running as soon as possible and well in advance of school coming back and people returning from their holidays,” he said.

Mr McQueen said Dubliners have to look at this being the end of what has been tough process for everyone in city.

“We just have to grin and bear it now. Everyone is focused on the end and we’re going to get the benefits of all the work and disruptions,” he added.

The works come in advance of the proposed launch of the new service in December.

Ongoing tram testing has continued over the summer and driver training is due to commence in September.

Access to car parks in the city will be maintained but those travelling through are advised to use alternative routes.

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