Business Irish

Monday 16 July 2018

Port eyes new Liffey bridge for tunnel link

Dublin Port CEO Eamonn O’Reilly. Photo: Conor McCabe
Dublin Port CEO Eamonn O’Reilly. Photo: Conor McCabe

Fearghal O'Connor

Preliminary discussions have begun about building a new River Liffey crossing to link the southern section of Dublin Port on the Poolbeg peninsula with the Port Tunnel on the northside of the city.

Negotiations around the planning, construction and financing of the new route - previously earmarked as part of the long-planned Eastern bypass - kicked off between Dublin Port Company, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Dublin City Council at the start of this year.

The new Southern Port Access Route - likely to be a bridge rather than a tunnel - is a crucial part of Dublin Port's master plan to 2040, said its chief executive, Eamonn O'Reilly.

O'Reilly said that the company is discussing the possibility with transport authorities of it building the link itself.

The route is not mentioned as part of the Government's new investment plan but is part of the NTA's transport strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016-2035.

As part of the final stages of its master plan, the port is planning to expand the container terminal on the southside of the Liffey on the Poolbeg peninsula.

Dublin Port chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly said that the plan to link the Port Tunnel directly to the container port on the southside of the Liffey was driven by the need for future expansion at the lift on, lift off facility.

“We know we would never get planning permission for that unless we can provide proper access,” said O’Reilly. “You just couldn’t get the volume of extra goods across the East Link bridge. We don’t even need to do a whole lot of analysis to know that. That’s why we need the new route.

“If we can get that built quite quickly it could also be used to provide public transport, for example.

“That is badly needed to provide for the 3,500 residential units that are being planned for the Poolbeg West special development zone,” he said.

O’Reilly said it was too early to put a price tag on the route until indicative designs became clearer but that it would likely be a bridge rather than a tunnel.

He welcomed the Government’s new investment and planning framework, announced last week.

“A lot of joined-up thinking is already in place and the National Planning Framework is the glue that is putting all of it together coherently,” he said.

“We are talking at the moment with TII and the NTA and we might even build it ourselves because they have so many other projects to do.

“But we are going to be pushing ahead with discussions to see if we can build it or can they build it in time for our master plan framework.”

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