Luas works force driving ban on busy city street
Construction works on the Luas Cross City line will result in disruption to motorists including a ban on driving through College Green on weekdays during busy times.
Laying more than 5.5km of new track for the €368m project will result in traffic being reduced to one lane on some of the capital's busiest thoroughfares, the National Transport Authority has said.
Work has already begun on O'Connell Street, north of the Spire, and new construction sites will open at College Green, Dawson Street, Hawkins Street and D'Olier Street next month.
Motorists will also be restricted from driving through College Green on weekdays between 7am and 7pm, starting from next Monday.
The route will only be open to buses, taxis and cyclists. This is to allow construction works continue on Westmoreland Street and College Street, which includes erecting overhead wires and laying track.
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe acknowledged that problems would arise, but that the long-term gain would be significant.
"This stage of the project is going to cause inconvenience and difficulties and I want to acknowledge that. The reason all this work is being done is to radically improve the level of public transport we have in our city.
"The city will be very much open for business," he added.
"We're going to take every step possible to ensure the levels of inconvenience are kept to a minimum. Luas Cross City will be another really important contributor to Dublin really doing well and also improving the ability of people to move around Dublin."
The 5.6km project will link the Red and Green lines, and add another 10 million passenger journeys per year, up from 30 million at present.
The works include track laying, installing new paving and overhead lines, and construction of new stops and extending existing stations.
This is to accommodate longer trams, which will be 53 metres in length, compared with 42 metres at present.
But the works will only affect the city centre to Broadstone, where the line goes off-street and runs along an existing railway cutting.
Other traffic changes for 2017, when the line becomes operational, include removing the taxi rank at the Gresham Hotel and the right-hand turn from O'Connell Street to Cathal Brugha Street.
There will be 13 stops, and the journey time from Broombridge to St Stephen's Green will be 21 minutes.
Work began in June 2013, and will be completed in 2017, but will be suspended in March and April next year for the 1916 centenary commemorations.