AN extension to the Luas tram network is to bring an extra 30,000 people within one kilometre of a stop and take 10,000 cars off the road in Dublin.
The four kilometre line through Finglas in the north of the city is targeted for completion by 2030, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said.
Mr Ryan this morning opened a public consultation on the route of the line which has been chosen from almost 30 options that were whittled down to a short list of four.
It links Charlestown close to the M50 with the existing Broombridge station in Cabra, a journey that will take just 13 minutes, and it promises to enable passengers get the whole way to Trinity College in the city centre in just 30 minutes.
It will provide four new stops along the way but it will also run through three public parks and Finglas village with opposition expected over the impact on any or all of these areas.
No price has been put on the project, with the National Transport Authority insisting it was impossible to cost until the route had been pinned down, but it is expected to run to hundreds of millions of euro.
The preferred route requires two bridges, one at Broombridge station and one over the River Tolka, which will add to costs, although trying to find alternatives could be even more expensive.
Luas Finglas will differ from the existing 40 kilometres of track in that it will be constructed mostly in grass track and cycle and pedestrian paths will be laid along much of the line.
A 600-space park and ride facility will be built at the Charlestown end. A website, www.luasfinglas.ie, went live this morning where full details and drawings of the proposed route can be viewed.
Members of the public, community and interest groups will have until mid-September to submit their observations.
Previous consultations have involved public meetings and exhibitions but this approach has been ruled out because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Announcing the proposed route, Mr Ryan said it was the right time to invest in the project as more public transport was badly needed.
He said it would also allow for the planning of housing developments where they would be best served by public transport and allow people to begin choosing where they want to live in the future.
“It’s going to improve the quality of life of tens of thousands of people. It’s the best way of making the city work,” he said.
If the project proceeds without delays, the consultation, design and licencing could be completed in 2023, followed by a one year tender process and then a four-year construction phase.
Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority, urged the public to get involved in the project.
“We are anxious to get feedback on this proposal so I encourage members of the local community to engage with this consultation process and let us know what you think.”
The NTA has also put into service its first new extra-length Luas. A further seven of the 55m trams, which are 11m longer than the standard model, will be delivered in the next few months.
Each one will carry around 100 more passengers than the existing models. Work is also continuing on converting 26 existing trams into 55m versions.