Royal Canal Greenway in Dublin City delayed by nearly a year

A delay in starting construction on the Royal Canal Greenway in Dublin City by up to 11 months is “unacceptable” a local councillor has said.

Sections of the route in the Dublin City Council area are now put back until “Quarter 2 or early Quarter 3 of 2018” — the same sections were due to see work starting in September and November of last year.

“With regards to Phases 2 and 3, I feel that the goal posts seem to be changing all of the time with indicative construction start dates constantly being put back,” said Cllr Ray McAdam (FG).

The route, while a greenway, will also function as a commuter cycling route with links from Kildare into Dublin 15 and from the north-western Dublin suburb areas of Blanchardstown and Castleknock to Ashtown, Glasnevin, Phibsboro, Drumcondra, the city centre and the Docklands.

He added: “These delays are unacceptable as I know that this project has much potential and benefit for cyclists, for pedestrians and the communities in which the greenway will be located.”

“I do welcome, however, the fact that work on Phase 4 between Cross Guns Bridge and Ashtown will be advanced in 2018. This is good news as the advancement of the Royal Canal Greenway is a key objective of the Phibsborough Environmental Improvement Plan which I have also been working on with local residents,” Cllr McAdam.

The route is also part of the Dublin to Galway Greenway — the route is stalled west of Athlone, but most of the sections between Dublin and Athlone are finish or progressing to construction.

Last week in a council reply to Cllr McAdam, Dublin City Council said: “Detailed design and production of tender documents has been completed for Phase 2 of the Royal Canal Greenway. These documents are due to be issued to the tendering contractors week commencing 8th January 2018.”

The council said: “Commencement of construction will be dictated by the successful outcome of the tender procedure and also the securing of a third party approval agreement with Irish Rail. Currently this agreement cannot be finalised until the Commission for Railway Regulation have completed their review, we are hopeful however that the project will commence on site in Quarter 2 or early Quarter 3 of 2018.”

“Detailed design of Phase 3 has been completed and draft tender documents have been prepared and have been checked by the NTA & DCC. Following completion of updates and securing of agreements with Waterways Ireland and Irish Rail, it is our aim that this phase will also proceed to tender in Quarter 1 and commence on site in Q3 2018,” the council added.

“The NTA have advised us that we may now proceed with the detailed design of phase 4 of the project. We are currently preparing tender documentation for the procurement of a Consultant. We envisage that this process will be completed by the end of Q1 and that detailed design & tender preparation will follow and will be completed by end of Q4 2018.”

As we reported last year, the reasoning for the delay was said to include the stalemate in establishing a Northern Ireland government at Stormont which was said to 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.

7 Comments

  1. Fed up moaning about this. I have been waiting well over a decade for any sign of progress in my area of the Royal Canal; west of Blanchardstown village as far as Leixlip. Transport ministers have come and gone, but there is a clear lack of central planning. It seems that progress outside of Dublin is only made on any part of the Greenway when an individual County Council (e.g. Westmeath) gets their finger out for local leisure amenity reasons. No systematic joined-up bigger-picture thinking in evidence. While in Dublin city itself, each small section appears to be worked on sequentially and each has been affected by protracted problems and delays.

    This is in every conceivable way a no-brainer of a project; a relatively very cheap and low-impact development on land that is already 100% owned by the state, that will provide environmentally-sound transport facilities for commuters as well as a potentially very lucrative and successful tourist gateway to the West. WTF is the delay? Empires have risen and fallen in less time.

  2. Our public service lacks the capacity to deliver and manage big projects due to chronic depletion of staff numbers imposed by austerity. It’s called implementation deficit.

  3. We have a great phrase from the 80’s; GUBU. Grotesque Unbelievable Bizarre and Unprecedented, except there is precedence. God help us!

  4. Perhaps, but requirements for ‘consultation’ and the idea that not only do you have to consult people you also have to do what they want regardless of how short sighted or self centred it is hampers projects too. Social media has allowed a relatively small number of people who don’t like something for any petty reason to effectively object. If the council goes ahead over their objections they claim that they are “ignoring the wishes of the local community” and very often councilors either give in and take the just as cowardly approach of deciding they need to do more research or punt the decision to some other body (ie: do nothing, but spend money to make it seem like they are doing something).

    Look at the fiasco of the Clontarf sea wall. Look at the outrage over closing a road in Drumcondra to through traffic. Look at the unholy mess that the Quays cycle route turned in to.

    The principle problem with all of those isn’t lack of resources it is lack of will. The council isn’t willing to tell people that their desire to see the sea while they are driving alongside St Anne’s park is unimportant and will be ignored.

    When forceful objections are made, regardless of how ridiculous they are, the council caves in. Again and again and again. To make real progress we kind of need better councilors, a different system whereby planning can’t be tied up by these sort of things or better citizens.

  5. While I agree that the objection culture you describe is a major block on other important cycling infrastructure projects, it is not in any real sense a factor in the Royal Canal cycleway delays. Almost everyone agrees that this is a good project and no serious obstacles or objections exist. Which begs the question if the authorities can’t quickly deliver a project like this when all lights are green, costs are low, benefits are self-evident, land is state-owned and public support is fully onboard, when can they accomplish anything efficiently?

    While an implementation deficit may well be a factor in the latest delays, it does not explain the previous decade of inactivity. That can only be put down to incompetence or perhaps even ideological unwillingness of behalf of those entrusted to deliver.

  6. Interesting update on the new RCAG website royalcanalgreenway.ie. Apparently, the area I use west of Clonsilla is one of the few remaining areas to be completed outside central Dublin.

    https://royalcanalgreenway.ie/you-asked-whats-going-on-with-the-royal-canal-greenway/

    The main delay is still being cited as the technical challenge of the deep sinking as was originally made clear in the 6 year old feasibility study.

    http://www.fingal.ie/media/2.4.3.A.18.1%20Royal%20Canal%20Greenway%20Feasiblity%20Report%202012%20Document_r.pdf

    This area falls within the remit of Fingal County Council who seem to be the least engaged of all parties involved in this endeavor. Here’s hoping that the existence of an almost complete amenity of this importance that is being held back by this one section will allow the requisite pressure will be brought to bear on Fingal Coco to get this section done.

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