Luas lines get the green light for €370m city centre link-up

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

THE two Luas lines in Dublin will finally be joined by a city centre link-up, although the project will not be completed for over four years.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has announced €370m funding for the new line, called Luas BXD, and initial work will begin next May.

The Green Luas line runs from south Dublin and ends at St Stephen's Green while the Red Line runs from West Dublin to the Point Theatre via Connolly Station.

The new link-up will extend the Green Line to O'Connell Street, where it will provide an interchange with the Red Line at Abbey Street.

A new bridge being constructed across the River Liffey will carry southbound tram passengers from Marlborough Street to Hawkins Street.

However, the new scheme will also see the Luas extend from O'Connell Street to Broombridge, via Broadstone and Grangegorman.

It will link up with Irish Rail's Maynooth line services at Broombridge, and there will also be links to quality bus corridors and other city bus services.

"The two Luas lines should have been joined up years ago," Mr Varadkar added.

The news follows An Bord Pleanala granting permission for the project earlier this year.

It will cost €370m and generate an estimated 800 temporary construction jobs and 60 permanent positions.

The first stage of the project, the preparatory works, will start next May.

The main building work is due to begin in 2015. It is scheduled for completion in late 2017.

The Department of Transport says "every effort will be made to minimise the impact of construction works on the business community, road users, pedestrians, and residents in the city centre area".