Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has announced that work will start on the new Luas BXD line next year after Cabinet discussed the project’s updated business plan today.
Minister Varadkar will now ask the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) to prepare for work to start in May 2013.
“This is an important step for the Luas BXD project, which will link up the existing Luas lines and give Dublin an integrated commuter rail network for the first time. Cabinet has discussed the business plan for Luas BXD, and I have now asked the NTA and RPA to proceed with the procurement and contractual arrangements which are necessary to allow the project to proceed in 2013,” Minister Varadkar said.
“The two Luas lines should have been joined up years ago. It’s a privilege for me as Minister for Transport to be able to finish the job.”
Minister Varadkar informed Cabinet today of his intention to approve arrangements for the construction of the LUAS BXD. The Minister’s decision is based on the project’s updated business case, and follows An Bord Pleanála’s decision earlier this year to grant a Railway Order which allows the line to be built.
The project will cost €370 million and is likely to generate up to 800 jobs during the construction phase, with a further 60 permanent jobs. Funding for the project has been included in the Government’s capital allocations under the Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016 plan, which gave priority to Luas BXD.
Luas BXD is a key infrastructure project and firmly in keeping with the Programme for Government’s intention to rebalance transport policy in favour of public transport.
The first stage of construction – the pre-construction enabling works – is due to start in May 2013 with the main construction works starting in 2015. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2017.
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. An initial working group comprising the RPA, NTA and Dublin City Council has been established to develop traffic management arrangements during the construction phase.
There are now proposals to set up a broader Project Forum chaired by Minister Varadkar including representatives of traders and businesses, An Garda Síochána, Dublin Bus, Dublin City Council plus the RPA and the NTA.
Luas Broombridge will be a key element in an integrated transport system for Dublin. It will create a Luas network by joining the two existing Red and Green lines, extending the network through the city centre to Broombridge. The new line will also integrate with rail services on the Maynooth and Dunboyne lines as well as QBC cross city/city centre bus services. A new bridge over the River Liffey, which is currently under construction, will carry the southbound Luas track from Marlborough Street to Hawkins Street.
When this landmark project is completed Dublin will finally have a truly integrated public transport system.
The recently updated business case which takes account of the conditions attached to the Railway Order, changes to land and construction costs and to revised population and employment projections, concludes that there continues to be a strong transport and economic case for proceeding with the project.
Other sectors of the regional economy are likely to benefit such as those in the construction material supply industry, plant hire and those providing technical support services (Architects, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors). Around 60 new permanent jobs will be created to support the ongoing operation and maintenance of the extended Luas network.