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New Luas line to take 10,000 cars off roads but won't be done for 10 years

Opposition is expected from affected areas

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Setting out: Transport Minister Eamon Ryan at the launch of the public consultation of the Luas and the introduction of the new Luas 55-metre trams at Broombridge depot. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Setting out: Transport Minister Eamon Ryan at the launch of the public consultation of the Luas and the introduction of the new Luas 55-metre trams at Broombridge depot. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Setting out: Transport Minister Eamon Ryan at the launch of the public consultation of the Luas and the introduction of the new Luas 55-metre trams at Broombridge depot. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The first test of the Government's greener transport agenda has been set with a pledge to build a new Luas tram line before 2030 - and possibly as soon as 2028.

The extension of the existing Green Line would bring an extra 30,000 people within 1km of a stop and take 10,000 cars off Dublin's roads.

Running through Finglas in the north of the city, the 4km line would be carrying passengers by 2030, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said.

If everything goes to plan, the National Transport Authority's tentative schedule of a 2028 completion might even be achievable.

Mr Ryan opened a public consultation on the route of the line, which has been chosen from 30 options, 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 to get all the way to Trinity College in the city centre in just 30 minutes.

Four new stops and two new bridges will be created, and the line will 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 confirmed, but it is expected to run to hundreds of millions of euro.

Luas Finglas will differ from the existing 40km of track around the city in that it will be constructed mostly in grass track with cycle and pedestrian paths laid along much of the line.

A 600-space park and ride facility will be built at the Charlestown end. Members of the public, community and interest groups will have until mid-September to submit their observations with full details and drawings available on luasfinglas.ie.

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 wanted 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.

The Green Party has made public transport a key plank of the Programme for Government and pressure is on to deliver an extensive package of bus and light rail projects that lost momentum in previous governments. If this project proceeds without delays, the consultation, design and planning 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," she said.

Irish Independent