Streets to remain open as work on new Luas extension begins
SOME of the country's busiest shopping streets will today see the beginnings of the biggest publicly funded construction project since the economy collapsed.
The first stage of the works on the new Luas line through Dublin city centre will involve trenches being dug on the footpaths and kerbsides on Dawson Street, Westmoreland Street, Parnell Street, Marlborough Street and Dominic Street.
But Luas has insisted there will be no disruption to shoppers, pedestrians or motorists until September when the main construction works begin.
The trenches are needed to identify cellars hidden under the city streets which must be filled in, before utilities, including power lines and water pipes, are diverted and tram lines installed. Many cellars have been closed off by owners, and just 25 have been identified. Dozens more may exist.
While there will be local disruption caused by footpaths being dug up, there will be no traffic diversions and bus routes will not be affected.
Grainne Mackin, director of communications for the Luas Cross City project, said the works would take up to three months.
"While these works signal the beginning of the project, it's important to say the streets will remain open to shoppers, traffic and pedestrians."
Once the first phase ends, work will move to St Stephen's Green north and lower Grafton Street. Heritage items including statues will be relocated from next month.
The building of the Luas Cross City line, which will link both light-rail systems in the capital, will provide 600 construction jobs until the end of 2017 when it opens.
The €368m project will not only open the city to commuters, it will also give people travelling from the west of Ireland access to the entire Luas network and connections with Iarnrod Eireann services.
The 5.6km line runs from St Stephen's Green to Broombridge, near Cabra, a journey time of 24 minutes. There will be 13 stops, eight in the city centre.
It will provide access to the new Dublin Institute of Technology campus at Grangegorman, and serve stops on Westmoreland Street, O'Connell Street and Dominic Street.