More M50 link roads planned for Sandyford but councillor says walking and cycling should be prioritised

— Pedestrian/cycle bridges over M50 should be prioritised over more links to congested M50, says Cllr.

Despite growing evidence that adding road capacity in urban congested areas does not work, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is planning to build a new link road at Sandyford industrial estate without footpaths or cycle paths.

It’s part of the council’s strategy for the area which is focused a priority of building more link roads, some of which are built and others approved but not yet built. 

The Part 8 planning details on the council’s website for the latest link road states: “The land take for the Bracken Road Extension will be sufficient to allow for the future provision of footpaths and a two-way cycle track. The provision of the footpaths and cycle track is contingent on similar facilities being provided on Drummartin Link Road.”

The council states that the development of the Sandyford area over the last two decades has resulted in the generation of significant volumes of traffic with resultant long traffic queuing on all roads leading into and out of Sandyford Business Park at peak times.

The council’s main solution for Sandyford is a number of new link roads, mostly providing more direct access to an already heavily congested M50.

The planning report states: “The Council has prioritised the construction of Bracken Link Road as an objective in the Sandyford Urban Framework Plan (SUFP), which forms Appendix 15 of the County Development Plan 2016-2022, to facilitate future development within the Sandyford Business District.”

However, Cllr Ossian Smyth (Green Party) said: “The planned Bracken Link Road on this scheme is meant to carry 4,000 vehicles per day and would be an additional exit for cars from the Sandyford industrial estate. This is being done in the hope that an extra road will reduce car traffic congestion. However, Transport Infrastructure Ireland recently admitted that adding road capacity in urban congested areas does not work — it simply creates wider traffic jams with more cars and makes other modes of transport slower and more dangerous.”

He added: “Right now it it’s very difficult to safely travel on foot or by bike, from the housing estates outside the M50 over the motorway to the office blocks on the Dublin side of the M50. Two pedestrian/cycle bridges are planned, and these are the pieces of infrastructure that need to be prioritised rather than adding extra room for more cars.”

Cllr Smyth thinks that part of the reluctance to provide for cycling could be that the Drummartin Link Road — a road between the new link road and the M50 — is part of the planned Eastern Bypass motorway reservation to connect the M50 with the Port Tunnel through Booterstown and a tunnel under Dublin bay. This will create a “huge motorway junction” around the planned link road and the nearby M50.

The project drawings show the new link road with and without cycle paths and footpaths:

The cross-sections and the drawings mark the cycle paths and footpaths as “future” additions:


  1. So, building all those roads in the past has resulted in increased volumes of traffic. Jeez, who knew that could happen? And their response to manage this is to…. build more roads? Yea, that sounds like a solid plan alright.

  2. It goes without saying but motorway style slip roads (which are prevalent on national roads like the N7 as well) are terrible for cyclists. I am an experienced and confident cyclist but I do not consider the N7 safe to cycle on. People who think cycling in heavy traffic around the city centre is as dangerous as it gets have clearly never been on the inside of a stream of traffic going 80+ while cars pass you on the inside at the same speed while they try to merge through the space you are in. If I had my way these would all be banned outside of motorways.

    The M50 in specific is pretty dreadful with regard to cutting non-motorised traffic off. Most crossing points are very poorly designed for pedestrians or cyclists. The Red Cow junction is an example where there is a pedestrian/bicycle crossing that is, in my opinion, a joke. When approaching on a bike it is very hard to identify that the bridge is designed to allow cyclists to cross the M50 (it looks like it just crosses to the northbound side of the N11, reversing your direction of travel). When you do realise the bridge is for cyclists and it does bring you to where you want to go you have to figure out how to get on to it (the answer is that you go past the end and then come back on the footpath). At that point you have to deal with the huge switchback, significant ramp and sharing with pedestrians (if any actually use it). The authority concerned should see how many people actually use that bridge on a given day. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone on it, pedestrian or cyclist.

    Assuming that you do miss the bridge (which is very likely) then you are on a confusing road where there are five lanes, the inside two joiing the motorway and the outside three going across the junction. A cyclist needs to position themselves in lane three with people accelerating up to motorway speeds on their inside, how they get across two fast moving lanes to that position is left to the imagination. There is a brief respite while actually crossing the junction where traffic is relatively normal for a fast moving busy road. Then the cyclist has to deal again with a stream of cars exiting the motorway at high speeds on their inside while they try to get to the left lane again.

    I agree with calls to make the M50 less of a disaster for cyclists and pedestrians but if this just means adding features like the Red Cow pedestrian bridge they should reconsider.

  3. I wonder when the plans for the extension were drawn up. The Audi garage currently under construction and the access road that TII built for themselves last year don’t leave much space for this extension.

    The lack of footpath and cycle lane facilities are farsical. DLR CoCo are so odd about this stuff. Some of their cycle facilities are very good (by Dublin standards) and others are non-existent.

  4. I work in Ballsbridge and live in Stepaside. One possible route home is via Sandyford Ind Estate but I try and avoid it if possible, but sometimes I have to due to interim stop offs..

    The existing infrastructure in and around the estate is appalling
    – cycle lanes that spill you out onto a junction,
    – cars parked in what lanes do exist
    – and the worst, just outside the Beacon Hotel, where there is a cycle lane that crosses a left filter: you have to compete with speeding exuberant drivers that have just freed themselves from the traffic snarl and heading to the M50 and couldn’t care less about giving way to the cyclists going straight on.

  5. The best crossing for cyclist/pedestrians on the M50 is the crossing from Palmerstown to Liffey Valley. Its basically a quiteway. Looking down from the bridge onto the M50 madness can make you appreciate your on a bike. An additional cyclist/ pedestrian crossing from the Dutch Village in Clondallkin to the Parkwest Industrial estate would be welcomed.

  6. The crossing below the Dodder waterfall probably trumps that, along with the aquaduct at th the royal canal, but there is a shocking poor provision crossing the motorway in general.
    Tymon park is split by the m50 yet only has crossings within metres of the roads at either end of the park.

    The current scheme seems daft to not provide paths(walking/cycling) How are people on or near Kilgobbin road meant to get to the business opening onto this new road scheme?


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