Luas works to be scaled back for festive season
Works on the Luas Cross City project will be scaled down or halted as Dublin prepares for one of its busiest ever Christmas shopping periods.
Traffic flow in the city has been severely disrupted by the works to connect the two Luas lines and extend the Green Line.
A number of businesses have told the Irish Independent of their unhappiness with the impact of some of the works, and expressed concerns they could impact shoppers.
They also warned that the unappealing sites could potentially turn off visitors to the city.
However, Luas Cross City has responsibility for the programme of works - which is not due for completion until 2017 - and it has agreed to postpone some planned developments and to temporarily stop work at other sites.
The stoppages will begin to come into effect from Black Friday on November 27.
The 'Bus Gate', which is in operation and prohibits cars from passing through College Green between 7am and 7pm, will remain in place.
However, following discussions with business representative groups and Dublin City Council, works will be halted in a number of areas both north and south side of the city.
Works on Dawson Street will pause completely and planned track-laying works have now been put back until after Christmas.
The Trinity side of Nassau Street will be closed for works but the southbound lane will stay open as well as the footpath on that side of the street.
On the northside, two lanes of traffic will be restored on the northbound side. Southbound traffic is not affected at all by the Luas Cross City works.
Clerys car park will remain accessible over the Christmas period, though only a southbound lane will be maintained on Marlborough Street. There will also be "local access only" on Dominick Street.
Proposed track works on Parnell Street (west of Parnell Square) will now not go ahead until after the Christmas period.
The decision to relax works and postpone others will come as welcome relief for many traders. Dublin Town, the group which represents 2,500 businesses in Dublin, said the majority of its members were happy with how the works were carried out.
"Businesses accept the works will ultimately make the city more accessible, and accept there will be disruption," Dublin Town CEO Richard Guiney said.
"Works are being scaled back and postponed in a lot of areas so I think they're going to be at a level that I think we can work with."
However, some businesses say they have been severely affected by the works thus far. Desmond Coffey, owner of the Farm Restaurant on Dawson Street, acknowledges the works will improve the city but said some of the sites looked like disaster zones on a bad day.
"Of course it will be great when it is finished but I hope we will all still be here when it is finished," he said.
Luas Cross City said the project was the largest construction and civil engineering project in the city for a generation.