Re: Re: Time to Complete the M50?

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By Paul Melia

Wednesday January 07 2009

MOTORISTS will be tolled to cover the potential €4bn cost of an ambitious motorway under Dublin Bay.

A new report obtained by the Irish Independent reveals details of the proposed 11km Eastern motorway running from the Port Tunnel to the M50.

The bypass would complete a full ring motorway for the capital, closing the gap between the Port Tunnel and the M50, and could be built within 10 years.

The scheme was first mooted in the 1970s, and is an objective in the Dublin Transportation Office’s Platform for Change strategy, published in 2000.

According to the new report, costs could be as high as €4.35bn, calculated at 2015 prices.

And the consultant’s report prepared for the National Roads Authority says it is technically feasible and economically viable, with the economic benefit running at more than double the construction costs.

It would be tolled, and could take in €38m a year in revenue, while the bypass would cost €14m to maintain.

But the project has serious implications for the future of Dublin Port.

Two studies are under way on the future of Dublin Bay, and a decision will have to be made on whether the port should remain in its current location or move to free-up large tracts of land near the city centre.

Traffic

The bypass would do much more than take traffic out of the city centre and off the M50 on the west side of the city. An objective of providing the road is that the Poolbeg Peninsula and South Port area could be developed to provide homes and businesses in the heart of the city, instead of continuing expansion on the outer fringes of the capital.

The report says it is possible to “largely avoid” impacts for buildings and communities by following existing road reservations, but it notes the protected status of much of Dublin Bay.

Parts are deemed to be natural heritage areas and special protection areas, meaning that wildlife must be protected.

It says that undeveloped lands along the proposed route could be reserved, in particular the grounds of the Radisson St Helen’s Hotel at the Stillorgan Road. It rules out the complete project being tunnelled.

This first feasibility study into the scheme splits the proposed route into four sectors.

The first deals with the section from the Dublin Port Tunnel toll plaza through the Port and to Sandymount, and recommends that a tunnel or a high viaduct or bridge just downstream of the East Link bridge should be built, to take between 32,000-56,000 vehicles a day.

The second section, at Sandymount Strand, could see a tunnel built along the coastline or a viaduct constructed 1km off-shore. Traffic will travel through the third section, from Booterstown to the N11 at UCD, via a tunnel with 1.2km running underneath UCD, before continuing underground to the Sandyford interchange of the M50 via Kilmacud, completing the ring-road.

Three options have been finalised, costing between €3.95bn and €4.35bn at 2015 prices. At 2007 costs, the bill would run from €2.6bn and €3.2bn.

– Paul Melia

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