A six month delay in constructing a missing northern section of the Sutton to Sandycove Dublin Bay cycle route is due to Irish Water and confirming the financing of coastal defences linked to the project.
The section of the S2S route at Dollymount and Bull Island is now expected to be started “early in the new year” — when finished it will mean there will be a continuous cycle route of nearly 10km from Eastwall Road to Sutton.
Dublin City Council only outlined the reasons for delay in response to a Freedom of Information request.
“The Section of the S2S between the Wooden Bridge and the Causeway went to tender in March of this year. A contractor has been chosen and is in the process of being appointed,” said Eoghan Madden, senior engineer at Dublin City Council’s roads and traffic planning division.
He added: “The scheme also contains the laying of a new trunk watermain, and raising the wall to conform with the coastal flood protection. Before the contractor could be appointed we are required to have all finance in place for the contract. Discussions had to take place with the newly formed Irish Water in relation to their requirements for the watermain, and confirmation of funding in writing.”
The delay with Irish Water is echoed around the country, with councils complaining that the state-owned Irish Water is delaying projects and hindering the signing over of public areas of housing estates to councils.
Madden said: “We also had to have written confirmation of the finance for the Coastal Protection elements of the scheme. These are now all in place and the scheme is to start early in the new year. There are environmental limitations on when works can take place where they would affect wading birds and habitats, so the project has been through an environmental assessment specifically directed to avoid works at specific locations during sensitive times of the year.”
Even with the completion of the northern section of the S2S, the route will still remain unconnected to the city centre because a plan to link the northern coastal with the Grand Canal route (shown in red on the map, below) was abandoned by Dublin City councillors in 2011.
At that time, we reported how Cllr Naoise Ó Muirí (Fine Gael) said that scrapping the plans for the cycle route was a “short-sighted decision”, and that “…the strategic interests of the city are set aside once again and the associated millions of funding may well be on its way back to the Department of Transport already.” His party colleague, Cllr Mary O Shea said that “we should all hang our heads in shame”.
Plan B is a more inland route made up of two projects. The first will link the S2S at Clontarf to City Centre via Fairview and North Strand Road (partly shown in black in the map, below) — options for this are being studied and are due to go to planning in the first quarter of 2015. The second project is part of the Royal Canal cycle route between North Strand Road and the Docklands (shown in purple on the map, below) — it’s due to go to planning by the end of the year but construction is only estimated to start in 2016.
The 22km S2S route is now listed in Dublin’s cycle network plan as part of the East Coast Trail strategic greenway, which is planned to stretch from Arklow to Drogheda. While the S2S campaign started in 2002 and there has been little progress in recent years. However, sections of the coastal trail outside of the Dublin Bay area have already progressed to planning – including a section from Malahide and Donabate.
MAP: Green = open sections; orange = Dollymount section to be constructed; red = route via Eastwall abandoned by councillors; black = North Strand / Fairview route stalled because of BRT; purple Royal Canal section due to go to planning by the end of this year, with construction by 2016: