Dublin’s Eastern Bypass motorway route moved beside homes without public consultation

Residents and councillors in Dublin appear to be left in the dark as the proposed alignment for the €4 billion Eastern Bypass motorway was moved closer to homes and businesses.

The 2014 Eastern Bypass proposed protected alignment for “Sector A: Dublin [Port] Tunnel to Sandymount Strand” opens the possibility of running the motorway at-grade in the city area and shifts the route of the motorway so that it will run directly beside the Point Village as well as closer to residential areas in East Wall. The route will then cross over to the southside beside or as a replacement to the Eastlink Bridge, the proposed motorway alignment then runs between houses in Ringsend and the River Liffey.

The route then passes the Irish Glass Bottle site before reaching Sandymount Strand where there are two options to reach Booterstown — a tunnel or bridge across the sea and beach. From Booterstown, the route would go via the south grounds of UCD and on to Sandyford where it would join with the current M50, completing a motorway ring road around Dublin city.

Artist’s impression of the bridge option across the south Dublin Bay, the alturnative is tunneling:

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Transport Infrastructure Ireland (formally National Roads Authority) finalised the new section of route for the Eastern Bypass in September 2014. The report on the bypass was uploaded to TII.ie in the last year but has yet to be reported on.

Consultants working for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) said the motorway would mean large volumes of extra traffic with added air pollution, noise and vibrations. They wrote that developers of new property should notify “all owners and occupants of the scheme will be advised of the possible noise, vibration and air impacts associated with the Dublin Eastern Bypass motorway and that any compensation arising as a result would be payable by the developer of the subject lands.”

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Asked about its support for the new section of route, a spokesman for Dublin City Council said: “In discussions with TII, Dublin City Council indicated that they were in broad agreement with the outline plans which TII had proposed.”

Separately, the council confirmed the status of the motorway in the current development plan process. A spokeswoman for the council confirmed that Dublin city councillors have excluded the bypass from the current draft plan but that it may yet make it into the final version.

She said: “The Eastern By-Pass is not included in the draft City Development Plan 2016 – 2022. A draft Plan has no status until it is adopted – in November 2016 in this case. All submissions on the draft plan are currently being analysed and Recommendations brought to the City Council in May. A decision will then be made on whether the Eastern Bypass objective will be included in the second round of consultation in the summer.”

Separately, councillors in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council area voted against a motion to exclude the motorway from their development plan by two votes.

When we asked Dublin City Council if councillors or residents were consulted on the major change in its area, the council referred us to TII saying that the council is not aware of the extent of their engagement with other stakeholders during the preparation of the report. TII have yet to respond to this and other questions.

The report by the consultants shows that because of Dublin Port’s plans to bring in the largest cruise ships in close to the Point, the protected motorway alignment options will now not include a high bridge and will not cut across the port. It will retain the options of “Medium Level Opening Bridge across Dublin Port” and “A2: Cut & Cover Tunnel through Dublin Port”, while adding an option of an at grade motorway and move the alignment right up to the current residential areas.

The report states: “The 2013 – 2014 study reexamined Options A1 and A2 and introduced a new Option (A6) to route the motorway at grade. The study, which was examined both engineering and urban design considerations, did not identify a preferred scheme, but identified that each of three remaining options was technically feasible and should be brought forward for comparison as part of the formal Route Selection and Environmental Impact Assessment processes at a later date. A corridor has been identified that can accommodate any of the three retained options.”

The report states: “Owners and occupiers of new developments on lands along and adjacent to the proposed route corridors should be made aware of the possible future provision of the Eastern Bypass Motorway Scheme. An undertaking in writing should be sought from developers that all owners and occupants of the scheme will be advised of the possible noise, vibration and air impacts associated with the Dublin Eastern Bypass motorway and that any compensation arising as a result would be payable by the developer of the subject lands and not by the developer of the Eastern Bypass scheme.”

Seven days ago TII confirmed acknowledgment of receiving questions sent to them by IrishCycle.com, but they have yet to respond further.

14 Comments

  1. Maybe I’m missing something here but there doesn’t appear to be any connection between the content of the article and the neeeds and interests of Irish Cyclists. Also I understand that there will be direct access from Ringsend to the new corridor (if ever built) which will substantially reduce traffic accessing the port through this area. Surely good for cyclists…or is it always a case of 2 wheels good 4 wheels bad?

  2. @dalkeyprogress all this money being spent on adding capacity to the road system – if only there was some way of reducing our dependancy on cars.
    I wonder how far, with say 10% of this €4 billion budget, we could go towards transforming Dublin into a cycling city. It’s relatively low risk too – just copy what has been tried and tested in other cities around the world.

  3. We need to get on with completing the S2S walking/cycling path. How do they keep providing for motorised transport at a cost of €Ms in the face of upcoming #COP21 climate-change challenges and commit to spending only tiny fractions on cycling promotion and infrastructure?

  4. I cycled in to work via this route this morning. There was a temperature inversion and the STINK of fumes from vehicles was horrible. Lines of traffic all sitting there pumping out noxious fumes. This isn’t on a Luas route so it wasn’t due to the strike today. This is now just the norm. Having a motorway here will only make things lots worse. It’s estimated that nearly 30,000 people die in the UK every year due to vehicular pollution. Seeing the haze in the air today brought home the need to reduce the numbers of vehicles. To anyone living in this area, if this goes ahead, you’ll be living in a perpetual nitrous oxide cloud.

  5. Lived once upon a time on Strand Rd just a stones from Sandymount Green, a quiet corner of Dublin. Obviously the Proposal here is to trade all that for money. The “Planning Process” is all smoke and mirrors. Its not transparent and thus deters and discourages public review and comment. At the end of this “Process” the Public will be presented with done deals and fait accompli. The Public must nonetheless consider and comment NOW: the main thrust of this Proposal is not merely to make Dublin a car centric city hostile to communities like Ringsend and Sandymount pedestrians and bikers. The main purpose of this Proposal is to make the builder of the road and bridge/tunnel and the collateral developers very rich at at the expense of the taxpayers, and especially the residents of Sandymount and Ringsend.

  6. @dalkeyprogress I hope the following answers your questions:

    First off, the above article is a straight forward news article focusing highlighting a study which moves a motorway alignment closer to current homes without consultation when warning of effects of said planned motorway and the need to warn potential owners of new builds along the route. That’s a major contradiction — we don’t need to get into opinion or comment to highlight that. So, what’s your issue?

    Re the story not directly covering a cycling issue: A motorway would have effects on cycling — be they accessibly issues (severance of different residential / business / port / the planned leisure cruse port / etc); increased noise, increased air quality issues; and increased traffic between the motorway and the city centre and other nearby areas. Clearly at grade motorway would include more of these effects — so, we also highlighted that option is now on the table. Even if it’s mostly underground, noise and air quality issues are worse at vents and tunnel portals.

    But I also want to say that from time to time this site does and will cover issues on the fringe or at first look separate from cycling. I won’t be apologising for that. But I don’t think these issues are separate — transport investment and provisions are interlinked, not siloed — funding and prioritising one mode in the billions does affect the other modes. Planning and other issues also affect cycling and sustainable transport, so you might find this site covering more issues off what might seem to be our direct beat.

    Re your claim that you “understand that there will be direct access from Ringsend to the new corridor (if ever built) which will substantially reduce traffic accessing the port through this area. Surely good for cyclists…or is it always a case of 2 wheels good 4 wheels bad?” — your statement is based on a flawed point of motorways reducing traffic.

    Motorways only sometimes reduce the level of traffic on parallel routes but motorways increase the level of traffic in areas around and routes leading to the motorway junctions. HGV traffic is already restricted and can be restricted further if needed, and Dublin Port are on record as saying the new motorway is not vital to them or access to the port.

    The reality is likely that if the southern motorway route was built the HGV traffic would be more split between the two motorway routes to the port, and this along with the new motorway route would also allow for an increase in the level of cars being fed into city centre streets.

    Overall: Our readers — including some councillors — seem interested in this story and I see it as well within this website site’s remit.

  7. @Cian
    Apologies if this isn’t the best place to ask: You did a piece a while back covering the proposal to redesign the Temple Hill road markings so that vehicular traffic would move into a cycle lane, in order to accommodate traffic turning right into Newtownpark Ave. Has there been any update on that story? Thanks.

  8. Who is going to “Bypass” Dublin here? Is it the rich folks of Ross O Carroll Kelly land, who don’t want to go around the M50 to get to their flight to Marbella?

    It might be slightly quicker from the M11 to the N2 on a eastern bypass – dpt – m50 Finglas route but hardly enough to justify the eastern bypass.

    I travel from Lusk to Arklow and I don’t see too much problem circling the city when driving. I wouldn’t pay more to take a direct route anyway.

    I presume there will be no bypass of Dublin planned for people cycling across it? It’d be nice not to have to stop the bike a few dozen times like cars can.

  9. C’mon now Colm, when you start paying road tax like people in cars, then, maybe, you can start looking for handouts; but not before. /s :)

  10. Reading some of the comments here what stands out is the vitriol and lack of objectivity. Just to emphasise I’m a regular cycling commuter myself and also a car owner. My needs vary from day to day, it’s as simple as that, so I need a car like most people with a family and a job. I’m wondering what exactly do posters here mean when they reference the ‘cycling city’. Most cycling commutes are short around a few K and only a tiny minority uses bikes for their regular commute. Around where I live there are cycle lanes everywhere mostly installed in the last 10 years but no commensurate increase in cycling numbers. Interestingly we have 4 secondary schools in the immediate vicinity and I could safely say the number of kids cycling to school is practically zero. I appreciate for health reasons it’s important to encourage students and others to cycle but I just don’t see the link with investment in cycling lanes. Strikes me they’re a waste of money and largely about the optics rather than real benefits or outcomes.

  11. @dalkeyprogress:

    “Most cycling commutes are short around a few K and only a tiny minority uses bikes for their regular commute.”

    10% in Dublin City and growing isn’t a tiny minority… According to The Sunday Times, cycling is estimated to now account for around 10% of commuters in the Dublin City Council area. That’s up from 7.6% in the last Census and still increasing according to localised counts. In terms of percentages, the overall Dun Laoghaire Rathdown area isn’t a million miles behind.

    10% isn’t bad given there’s been very little investment in high-quality safe and attractive cycling routes or bicycle parking where it’s needed or in promotion.

    “Around where I live there are cycle lanes everywhere mostly installed in the last 10 years but no commensurate increase in cycling numbers.”

    Where do you live? If it’s around Dalkey or anywhere around Ireland, the standard of cycle routes network is overall low and the disjointness does not mount to a network except for the committed and those with limited or no other choice.

    “Interestingly we have 4 secondary schools in the immediate vicinity and I could safely say the number of kids cycling to school is practically zero.”

    Hardly surprising given the conditions.

    “Strikes me they’re a waste of money and largely about the optics rather than real benefits or outcomes.”

    Whatever the aim of the spending is for — be that transport, health, energy independence, emissions reductions or whatever — if the network is not safe, attractive, well designed and well connected, people won’t cycle.

    “Reading some of the comments here what stands out is the vitriol and lack of objectivity.”

    If you want say other people’s comments include vitriol or lack of objectivity etc, please directly address the comment in question. Otherwise, please leave it out.

  12. @Dalkeyprogress
    From your comment you seem to be saying, and correct me if I’m getting it wrong, that cycling isn’t useful for most people. You give a few examples, as you see them, of how spending money on cycling is a waste of money.

    Cycling in Ireland is in the minority, we’ll all agree on that. But why is that the case? As Cian points out, poorly planned and poorly constructed cycle infrastructure isn’t going to encourage anyone to cycle. Therefore poorly planned, poorly constructed and poorly maintained cycle tracks ARE a waste of money. However, if you build properly planned, integrated, and safe cycle infrastructure people WILL use it and it most definitely won’t be a waste of money.

    Don’t believe me – look at the Netherlands – they aren’t some alien species. They’re people just like us. They’re not some sort of crazy impervious-to-all-weather and all-terrain species. They’re just like us. They have a climate very similar to ours (actually it gets a lot colder there in the winter – I lived there for a few years) and yet just about everyone there cycles. And why is that? Because they have properly planned, integrated and safe cycling infrastructure. They use it because it works. If you build a similar network here, Irish people WILL use it. We’re people just like them who want to get from A to B in the fastest and more efficient way possible. Believe it or not, cycling can do that.

    And why is private car usage in the majority here in Ireland? Because the system is built for it and planned around it, and there’s very little in the way of an alternative.

    Why don’t kids cycle to any of the schools in your area? Because the parents are terrified to let their kids out unsupervised? And why is that? It’s NOT because cycling is dangerous – it’s because CARS are dangerous and there’s bugger all in the way of properly constructed separated cycle lanes to keep cars away from vulnerable people (like kids) on bikes.

    So, you’re right in saying that cycling is in a minority here in Ireland, but there are reasons for that. And it can be changed. And the way to change it is through cutting back on our dependency on vehicles to make our streets intrinsically safer. Redesign our streets and spend more on properly constructed cycle infrastructure, not less.

    And remember, all the damage done by motor vehicles – health issues due to inactivity, deaths from collisions, thousands of injuries, thousands of deaths from pollution, billions spent on road maintenance, stress from never-ending NOISE in cities, kids having their childhoods taken away because they never get outside unsupervised, etc etc etc etc. Whatever about cycling, just put cycling to one side for the moment – cars are a blight on our society and whatever we use as an alternative, cars need to be curtailed.

    It just so happens that cycling can provide an excellent, safe, efficient and healthy alternative.

  13. The east link motorway could have many benefits for people all over the city. It will help alleviate the traffic on the M50 taking commuters from the North Side to the Sandyford industrial estate and allow trucks from the south side to travel direct to Dublin Port. It will alleviate traffic on other major links into the city centre from the south side e.g. the Stillorgan dual carriage way and the Blackrock road. This will provide a better environment for residents and cyclists. It will allow commuter buses from Wicklow and the south east to reduce journey times to the city centre just as the Port Tunnel has for those from the north east.

  14. Building more roads tends NOT to alleviate traffic congestion. The extra capacity fills up very quickly. Pouring further money and space into building roads for vehicles does nothing to make our cities better places to live.

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