Friday 14 December 2018

Big investment in buses and major road and rail schemes

Minister for Transport Shane Ross speaking at the Cabinet meeting and launch of Project Ireland 2040. Photo: James Connolly
Minister for Transport Shane Ross speaking at the Cabinet meeting and launch of Project Ireland 2040. Photo: James Connolly
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Big-ticket items including a €3bn Metro and €2bn expansion of the Dart network to Drogheda, Maynooth and Hazelhatch are in the transport plan, along with major roads projects.

The National Development Plan (NDP) sets out spending of more than €8bn on roads, including the M20 between Cork and Limerick costed at up to €900m; the N2/A5 road linking Donegal to Derry and on to Dublin; as well as €600m for a Galway ring-road to alleviate chronic congestion in the city.

Other road schemes planned include the Cork to Ringaskiddy road to improve connectivity to the Port of Cork, and the long-awaited N2 Slane bypass, along with more than €4bn for local and regional road improvements and upgrades.

The Government also plans to invest in the bus network, with €2bn for a reorganisation of Dublin's system under the 'Bus Connects' project. There will be €200m each for Galway and Cork, along with a commitment to fund investment in Limerick and Waterford.

Development of comprehensive public transport systems in towns including Carlow, Mullingar and Kilkenny are planned, which the NPF says is crucial to creating more liveable towns and cities.

The biggest single project is Metro Link, formerly called Metro North, to run between Swords in north Dublin and the city centre via Dublin Airport. An underground Dart tunnel is not included. Planning and feasibility studies will also be undertaken on five light-rail projects - four Luas extensions in Dublin, to Bray, Finglas, Lucan and Poolbeg, and a light-rail scheme for Cork.

To facilitate the switch to public transport, investment will also be made in park-and-ride sites nationally around bus, rail and Luas locations.

Dublin Airport will proceed with its €320m second runway, while a €150m development of warehousing, a hangar and offices in the Shannon Development Zone around the airport will proceed. Expansion of ports at Dublin, Cork and Shannon Foynes are also planned at a total cost of just under €350m.

Irish Independent

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