— Northern Ireland government stalemate may mean longer delay for Dublin project.
Construction of sections of the Royal Canal Greenway in Dublin is to be delayed by at least six months, and a lack of a Northern Ireland government may further delay the approval process from the north-south Waterways Ireland.
Construction on the section of the greenway between North Strand Road and the Phibsborough Road was planned to start in September, and the work on the section between Sheriff Street Upper and the North Strand Road was to start in November. But those starting dates are now set back to March and April, respectively, at the earliest.
The stalemate in establishing a Northern Ireland government at Stormont may slow the process even further as projects on Waterways Ireland lands are usually approved by the North South Ministerial Council. Waterways Ireland, which looks after canals on the island of Ireland, is a cross-boarder body under the Good Friday Agreement and the ministerial council depends on members of the Northern Ireland Executive to function.
Dublin city councillor Ray McAdam (Fine Gael) said: “A number of issues have arisen which have delayed construction work on the project to begin. Dublin City Council has added the upgrade of a road junction to the Phase 2 programme of works. The initial phase of the tendering process has now been completed with council officials expecting the second stage to start in November.”
On his website, Cllr McAdam wrote: “All going to plan, it is anticipated that construction can begin on March 29th 2018. In terms of Phase 3 of the project, between the North Strand Road and the Phibsborough Road, the council has had to review the documentation surrounding the cost of the project, meaning that tender documents should now be issued in December 2017. It is anticipated that the Contractor will be on site before the end of April 2018.”
“The project requires certain approvals from Waterways Ireland. We have made the relevant submissions to Waterways Ireland. It is normal that most decisions are referred to the North South Ministerial Council. The absence of a Government in Stormont poses a serious risk to the start date. The contractor cannot start until all licences and easements from Waterways Ireland are in place,” said Cllr McAdam.
Dublin City Council did not respond to a request for comment on the delay to the project.
The Royal Canal Greenway is expected to be used by commuters and it is also part of the planned Dublin to Galway Greenway.
Planning and construction of trhe coast-to-coast route is progressing in sections between Dublin and Athlone. It is delayed west of Shannon due to objections from farmers in Galway who oppose the use of compulsory purchaser orders for greenways, although progress was made last week when An Bord Pleanála approved a walking and cycling bridge over the River Shannon in Athlone town.