No Government decision to defer the MetroLink construction start date – Joe O’Brien
23rd September, 2021
Minister Joe O’Brien has confirmed that there has been no Government decision to defer the MetroLink construction start date to 2027. This clarification was provided following reports to the contrary.
Minister O’Brien said:
“Metrolink is not an ordinary infrastructure project and it is very likely the largest ever public investment project in the history of the State. The scale of the project entails a significant amount of complexity in relation to the design, planning, and assessment processes”.
“The most recent information I have in relation to the project is that TII is due to lodge a Railway Order with An Bord Pleanála as soon as possible, with the planning process expected to take 12-18 months from that point. There remains an extensive body of work in relation to finalising the preliminary design, completing the required environmental impact assessment reports and closing out property referencing issues before the railway order application will be ready for submission to An Bord Pleanála. Aspects of this work were impacted by COVID-19 restrictions earlier in the year and I understand that it will likely be Q1 2022 before the Railway Order application will be ready, with submission to An Bord Pleanála expected shortly thereafter.”
“Once the planning process is completed TII have estimated that construction will take 6-8 years. The date is dependent on, amongst other things, Government approval of the Business Case and the publication of the National Development Plan 2040. They have advised me that they continue to make very good progress in developing the design and finalising the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and all the other documents which are required for their planning submission.”
Minister O’Brien also received confirmation that a design team for DART+ coastal was appointed earlier this year and is working on the preliminary design which will then go to public consultation. Separate to this process is the DART+ fleet of battery electric trains which will be able to improve capacity on the Northern Commuter Line in advance of full electrification. They do not require the full electrification of the line as the battery will kick in where there are not overhead rails. A preferred bidder for these trains has been identified.
Minister O’Brien concluded:
The exact date for construction to commence on the MetroLink project will depend on the granting of planning permission and government decision under the public spending code. Again, there has been no Government decision to defer the construction start date to 2027.
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