Wednesday 18 January 2017

Taxpayers foot €100,000 bill for road that will be ripped up within weeks

Laura Larkin

Published 21/03/2016 | 19:50

Construction engineers pictured working on part of the new LUAS tracks, near the Spire and GPO on Dublin's O Connell Street Frank Mc Grath
Construction engineers pictured working on part of the new LUAS tracks, near the Spire and GPO on Dublin's O Connell Street Frank Mc Grath

TAXPAYERS will be hit with a bill for a temporary road in Dublin which will be dug up for the new Luas tracks just weeks after it was laid.

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The bill has been estimated at around €100,000.

A temporary road was laid along lower Grafton Street ahead of the St Patrick's Day festival after it was dug up in order to put tracks in place for the new Luas cross-city line.

However, the new road will be ripped up again in order for the track-laying to continue.

Halted

All Luas works in the city centre were halted in time for St Patrick's Day and the 2016 centenary celebrations.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), who is overseeing the project, said that work would be back under way in a fortnight across the city.

The €386m Luas track has been laid in several parts of the city, but is only completed in places around the College Green and lower Grafton Street area.

Tracks have been laid on Nassau Street and ends just on past the pedestrian lights at Trinity College.

A number of barriers manning the previously dug up road and separating construction from road users were also removed in time for the celebrations.

Around 500,000 people were in the city centre for the parade on March 17 and next week's Easter Rising events are also expected to draw large crowds.

Work on the track is expected to commence again by April 4 when the newly laid and marked road will be dug up.

According to TII, the work stoppage was pre-planned and formed part of the contacts that were signed for the construction of the tram line which will link up the north and south sides of the city.

The project was started in 2013 and is due to be completed next year.

Independent TD Finian McGrath slammed the move as "an outrageous waste of public money".

"It is totally unacceptable and a disgrace that over €100,000 is being squandered like this," he told a Sunday newspaper.

The bizarre move was described as an "appalling waste of public money once again" by the Dublin Bay North TD.

Meanwhile, Independent councillor Mannix Flynn said that he hoped the bill would not be more than €100,000 which he said was an "astronomical cost" for the taxpayer.

"Obviously we need the place to be as good as we possibly can for the parade and the ceremonies, but this is an astronomical cost," he said.

"The festivities should have been factored in when they planned the works like they do in London."

A number of traffic diversions are in place around the city at the moment, some of which will become permanent when the work is completed and the new Luas is up and running.

It is expected that the 5.6km line will add some 10 million passenger journeys a year.

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