And an opinion piece by Frank Mc D on the same -
Daring plan inspired by London Eye
The proposal for cable cars along the Liffey is a sensational example
of lateral thinking, writes Frank McDonald
For decades, Dublin has been divided by the River Liffey, with the
northside and the southside glowering at each other over its murky
depths. But now there is a daring plan to celebrate the river,
bringing the two sides together in a quite remarkable way.
The proposal to run cable cars over the river between Heuston Station
and North Wall Quay, just west of Spencer Dock, is designed as a
tourist attraction rather than a transport service.
But like all bright ideas, it is a sensational example of lateral
thinking. Developer Barry Boland, of Beaux Walk Properties Ltd, has
been working on it for a year and earlier this week presented it to
senior Dublin City Council officials, including city manager John
Fitzgerald. Their response, not surprisingly, was enthusiastic.
It was inspired by the success of the London Eye, which generated some
Â£60 million (â‚¬88.28 million) in revenue last year, according to Mr
Boland. His cable car project would also be run as a commercial
enterprise, but its thrill-seekers would be "going somewhere".
The plan has its challenging aspects - not least the installation of
four giant "towers" along the river to support the cable lines. But as
conceived by architects McGarry NÃ Ã‰anaigh and engineers Roughan
O'Donovan, these are light and elegant structures.
Both firms have good track records. McGarry NÃ Ã‰anaigh designed the
lighting masts in Smithfield, as well as the highly successful Liffey
Boardwalk, while Roughan O'Donovan designed the Luas bridge in Dundrum
and the Boyne bridge outside Drogheda.
One of the principal objectives in the project, fully costed at â‚¬52
million by quantity surveyors Bruce Shaw, was to minimise the visual
impact of the support structures. This has been done by limiting them
to four, instead of cluttering up the riverscape.
Two of the steel towers - at the end of Marlborough Street and in
front of the Civic Offices at Wood Quay - would be 85m high, while the
other two - west of Watling Street bridge and Custom House Quay -
would rise to a height of 55m.
With some 2,000 juggernaut trucks expected to vanish from the quays
after the port tunnel opens later this year, Dublin City Council is
about to start work on a new framework plan for the river - and the
cable car proposal could become its most exciting element.
Chief planner Dick Gleeson and city architect Jim Barrett are
certainly enthusiastic about the plan, which they see as a dynamic way
of stitching the city together along the spine of its main river -
though, obviously, it still has to go through the planning process.
Mr Boland cites figures showing that Dublin had 5.8 million visitors
last year, with an average stay of 4Â½ days. But he says all of the
city's attractions are static, including the Guinness Storehouse,
through which 740,000 trooped up to its Gravity Bar.
One of the terminals would be located within the Guinness Brewery on
Victoria Quay, a short walk from Heuston Station; the other just west
of the planned Calatrava bridge, some 50m from the site of the
national conference centre at Spencer Dock.
Two new pedestrian bridges are being "thrown in free gratis", as Mr
Boland says. One would be located on the axis of Marlborough Street
and Hawkins Street, providing an obviously needed link, while the
other would span between Ormond Quay and Wood Quay.
Swiss manufacturer Doppelmayr Garaventa, which makes most of the
world's cable cars, are so enthusiastic about the project that they
are going to invest in it. Mr Boland is banking on the likelihood that
Dubliners and visitors to the city will be equally electrified.
(c) The Irish Times