River Dodder Greenway feasibility study — what it says

Recently we covered how the Dodder greenway is progressing and how Danish experts hired by the councils involved said that the route should be a “bicycle superhighway” — but what has the feasibility study for the route said?

The study was coordinated by South Dublin County Council — the route also crosses into the areas of Dublin City Council and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. It was funded by the National Transport Authority.

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In August 2012, a team of consultants led by Roughan & O’Donovan and AECOM, together with Copenhagenize Consulting and Cunnane Stratton Reynolds, were commissioned to undertake a study into the feasibility of “developing a high quality Walking and Cycling Route along the River Dodder Corridor”. The final study is dated January 2013 and named “River Dodder Greenway From the Sea to the Mountains — Feasibility Study Report”.

See some of its key sections below, or read the report here:

Key sections quoted:

The following is quoted from the the report:


  • (i) To cater for commuting – the route will have to be sufficiently attractive to compete time-wise with the alternative on-road routes along the N81 and R114 into Dublin City from the greater Tallaght area.
  • (ii) To cater for tourist amenity – it is envisaged that the route will attract cycle tourists undertaking circuits through the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains.
  • (iii) To cater for local amenity – the route should benefit local communities through enhancing existing amenity paths and providing new linkages to adjacent communities and village centres.
  • (iv) To connect areas of parkland – the route should provide clear and coherent connectivity between existing parks along the river corridor – such as Bushy Park and Herbert Park.
  • (v) To enhance the ecological corridor – the scheme should have a neutral to positive impact on local ecology. This can be achieved by inclusion of complementary planting and features for flora and fauna.
  • (vi) To benefit local business – the scheme will increase accessibility to local businesses and village centres along the river corridor.
  • (vii) To be a Greenway of international renown – the scheme must avoid compromises and be on a par with the best greenways in the world.


…to achieve the objectives set out above:

Coherence and Directness
The route will have to be legible and coherent and easy for tourists and locals to follow. Even independent of any signage proposed, it should be possible to logically follow the route along the river.

One of the principal considerations to be determined early on is the required width for the route. The National Cycle Manual suggests a minimum width of 2.5m for two cyclists cycling abreast with another overtaking. Given the need to also accommodate pedestrians on the route, a general width requirement of 4m is proposed. This will cater for two-way cycling and pedestrian activity. Where particular pinchpoints exist, an absolute minimum width of 3.0m should be provided to allow two cyclists to pass or one cyclist to pass a pedestrian.

Where at-grade public road crossings are required, and compromises in terms of traffic capacity are necessary, these should generally favour the greenway route. Advance sensors, be they radar or detection loops should be included on the greenway on approach to the road crossings so as to enable the cycle signals to switch to green promptly and minimise delay and disruption for cyclists. These might include intelligent sensors that would apportion priority based on the number of cyclists approaching, or which might give greater priority to the greenway in inclement weather conditions.

All road crossings should be toucan crossings, a minimum of 4m wide, and with push button units on each side of the Greenway. Raised bars for cyclists to rest their foot on when stopped should also be provided on each side. Where the route is shared with traffic and crosses as busy road, the junction layout should generally be tightened to provide an increased area for pedestrians and cyclists.

High quality public lighting should be installed along the route (where not already present) along the entire length of the scheme from the River Liffey to the gates of the Bohernabreena Reservoirs complex. While the route’s commuter function will be minor west of Old Bawn Road, the continuation south-westward will be largely off-road and lighting will reduce the risk of anti-social behaviour. Uplighters rather than conventional lamp post lighting might be considered at the extreme eastern end of the route.

The route should provide a high quality and smooth riding surface, generally free from service chamber covers, bumps around tree roots, etc. Newer sections should be surfaced with fine cold asphalt or equivalent. There may be merit in the provision of a high quality aesthetic finish atop the asphalt along certain sections, similar to the surface treatment on the Grand Canal Route between Blackhorse and Adamstown. Such materials are costly and it would likely be unjustified to provide such surfacing continuously along the route.

Certain sections of the route will may CCTV coverage for security reasons where it is remote from the main road corridors that provide passive surveillance. It will likely be impractical to monitor the entire length of the route. The preliminary design should consider locations where CCTV is most necessary.

The River Dodder provides an important ecological corridor through the length of the scheme from the Dublin Mountains to the River Liffey. The site links a number of parks from Glenasmole, Kiltipper Park, the Dodder Valley Park, Bushy Park, Orwell Park, Dartry Park and Herbert Park, allowing for the connection of existing nature areas and maintains a healthy ecosystem. The linking of nature areas allows for species to move, migrate, disperse and exchange populations between these areas in order to secure their long term survival. The site is an important habitat for a range of species including otter, kingfisher, badger and bats along with a numerous avian fauna. Habitats include wet grassland riparian woodlands, dry and calcareous meadows and tufa forming calcareous springs. The river support an excellent supply of fish and salmon are present in its lower reaches. Invasive species, in particular Himalayan Balsam and Japanese knotweed are found throughout the river corridor.

In parallel with the scheme there is opportunity to include features to enhance the existing ecological corridor.. Such features might include:
– Assessment of the weirs along the route for potential provision of salmon passage.
– Artificial otter holts.
– Dipper and Bat boxes.
– Vortex weirs for outfalls to improve water quality
– Landscaping consideration for the enhancement of the aquatic environment

The scheme should require minimal maintenance to reduce the whole life cost. This should be considered in the design of any complementary planting along the route and in the design of bridges and other structures (which should all be fully integral).

Access and Permeability
All kissing gates along the route should be removed. These are an intolerable barrier to cycling and other means of controlling anti-social behaviour should be identified, including CCTV. A bollard or two at the entry to a 4m wide track would prevent vehicular access but can accommodate cyclists. Occasional abuse of the greenway by motorbikes may be a problem but the solution to this should not be to render the proposed cycleway unusable by the vast majority of responsible pedal cyclists. Links to the surrounding areas should be provided all along the route to maximise the usage of the greenway.

The greenway should emphasise features of interest to tourists along the route. Signage boards and sheltered stops should be included in the design. Local businesses should be encouraged to engage with the scheme, which could deliver additional custom to their premises.

(summary of report continues below map)

A map from the report showing some of the key urban villages and points of interest a long the route:



While it would be desirable to deliver the scheme, as proposed in this report, in full, as a single construction project, that may prove impracticable from a funding perspective. Therefore, three different implementation options have been investigated:

1) Do maximum: the scheme as proposed in this report, in full.
2) Do medium: A reasonable standard greenway with key pinch points addressed and lighting and cctv provided.
3) Do minimum: A minimal scheme to establish a continuous cycleable route along the Dodder corridor.

These are discussed in turn below.

8.1 Do Maximum Scheme
Subject to funding availability, it would be desirable to construct the entire scheme, which would consist of the following elements:
1) Resurfacing of Misery Hill and Hannover Quay
2) Construction of new opening bridges across Grand Canal Dock Locks.
3) Resurfacing of South Dock Road
4) Construction of a new ramp to Ringsend Road
5) Construction of a toucan crossing on Ringsend Road
6) Construction of new 2m wide bridge north of Ringsend Road Bridge
7) Construction of new 4m wide bridge south of Ringsend Road Bridge
8) Reconfiguration of Fitzwilliam Quay
9) Improvements to toucan crossing of Bath Avenue
10) Construction of new boardwalk from Bath Avenue to Lansdowne Road
11) Construction of new toucan crossing of Lansdowne Road
12) Construction of new underpass at the East Coast Railway
13) Construction of new bridge linking to the Oval from Beatty’s Avenue
14) Construction of a toucan crossing at Ball’s Bridge and reconfiguration of the junctions of Pembroke Road / Merrion Road with Shelbourne Road and Anglesea Road
15) Acquisition of lands from the Herbert Park complex
16) Upgrade of the route through Herbert Park
17) Resurfacing of Eglinton Terrace
18) Construction of a toucan crossing on Donnybrook Road and rearrangement of the footpaths on either side of the road
19) Resurfacing of Brookvale
20) Reconstruction of the Brookvale / Eglinton Road junction
21) Widening of the path from Brookvale to Ashtons
22) Regrading of the path from Ashtons to Clonskeagh Road
23) Two-way cycle track on west side of Clonskeagh Road
24) New bridge over Clonskeagh Weir – landmark feature bridge
25) New boardwalk along Beech Hill Road to Clonskeagh Road
26) Widening of route from Clonkseagh Road to Dundrum Road
27) Construction of new route north of river between Clonskeagh Road and Dundrum Road north of river
28) Improvements to toucan crossing of Dundrum Road
29) Lighting of Dundrum Road underpass
30) Widening of routes north and south of river between Dundrum Road and Lower Churchtown Road (Classon’s Bridge)
31) New link from route north of river to Richmond Hill with toucan crossing of Milltown Road
32) Widening of route under north arch of Classon’s Bridge by construction of a boardwalk and regrading of the ground.
33) Widening of route past Dropping Well
34) Widening and realignment of route through Dartry Park East
35) New bridge across Milltown Weir – landmark feature bridge
36) Land acquisition from Milltown Golf Club and construction of path along oxbow river alignment to Dartry Park West
37) New bridge to Dartry Park West
38) Widening / resurfacing of both paths through Dartry Park West
39) Regrading of approaches to Orwell Gardens Bridge
40) Improvements to route between Dartry Park West and Orwell Park
41) Improvements to route through Orwell Park
42) New bridge to Lower Dodder Road
43) Minor improvements and angling platform on Lower Dodder Road
44) Resurfacing of Lower Dodder Road cul de sac
45) New underpass under Rathfarnham Road
46) Widening of path through green area west of Rathfarnham Road
47) New bridge to Bushy Park
48) Improvements to route along Bushy Park to Riverside Cottages
49) New bridge from Riverside cottages to Kilvere
50) Widening of path around Kilvere
51) New bridge from Kilvere to north side of river
52) Land acquisition and construction of 4m wide path to Oldbridge Road
53) Boardwalk / structure at escarpment just east of Oldbridge Road
54) New 4m route through Ladyswell continuing behind Cheeverstown Centre
55) New bridge to rear of St. Brendan’s complex
56) New link from Firhouse Weir to Dodder Valley Park
57) New link from Dodder Valley Park to rear of Victory Centre including bridge over river tributary
58) Improvements to path between Victory Centre and Old Bawn Road
59) Construction of new toucan crossing of Old Bawn Road
60) Acquisition of land and construction of new route from Old Bawn Road to Kiltipper Woods Cafe
61) Construction of new toucan crossing of Bohernabreena Road
62) Acquisition of land and construction of new 4m wide route to complete link to Bohernabreena.

Additionally, the scheme includes provision of public lighting and cctv along the entire route (except cctv not proposed at Beatty’s Avenue or Lower Dodder Road, where passive supervision is available, or at Kiltipper Park at the extreme southwestern end of the route. The scheme also includes the removal of all kissing gates along the route.

[Do medium and do minimum listed on pages 11-13 of the PDF: Dodder Feasibility Study Report Section 4 of 4]


The following parameters have been used in assessing the costs of the different scheme options:

  • Planing / Resurfacing Works: €45,000 per km per m width;
  • Landscaping Works: €25,000 per km per m width;
  • Public Lighting: €130,000 per km;
  • CCTV: €135,000 per km;
  • Ducts: €55,000 per km;
  • Boardwalk: €1,200 per sqm;
  • Bridges: €1,000 – €3,500 per sqm;
  • Underpasses: €3,500 – €6,000 per sqm.

The costs include 15% preliminaries and 10% contingency but exclude VAT and client costs (e.g. design and supervision). Land acquisition costs have also been excluded.

On the basis of the foregoing, the following costs have been estimated:

9.1 Do Maximum Scheme
The cost of the Do Maximum scheme has been estimated as €23.2m. Of this, structures costs total €10.1m and CCTV and public lighting costs total €5.5m. The breakdown by Local Authority jurisdiction is as follows:

  • Dublin City Council: €12.3m
  • Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown County Council: € 3.2m
  • South Dublin County Council: € 7.7m

9.2 Do Medium Scheme
The cost of the Do Medium scheme has been estimated as €15.8m. Of this, structures costs total €6.9m and CCTV and public lighting costs total €5.2m. The breakdown by Local Authority jurisdiction is as follows:

  • Dublin City Council: € 8.7m
  • Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown County Council: € 0.2m
  • South Dublin County Council: € 6.9m

9.3 Do Minimum Scheme
The cost of the Do Minimum scheme has been estimated as €8.33m. Of this, structures costs total €2.1m and CCTV and public lighting costs total €3.7m. The breakdown by Local Authority jurisdiction is as follows:

  • Dublin City Council: € 5.7 m
  • Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown County Council: € 0.03m
  • South Dublin County Council: € 2.6 m



  1. It will be most important if the Cycleway path width is as wide as possible to avoid any interaction with pedestrians. I absolutely hate shared use paths but if they are going to be put in they must be wide. If they are going to Skimp on making this at least make sure the Cycleway path is put in as stated. Maybe skimp on the Lighting and CCTV for the moment but gradually put them in over time.
    They spent a huge amount on Roads and they are not worried to much at the cost especially all the M Ways they put in. So maybe they should think of getting something like this right. It will make money through Tourism ,both local and foreign.People going off Cycling for the Day will have to have Food sometime also the foreign Tourists Touring through Ireland.


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