— 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.
I see construction has recommenced on the Kilcock-Maynooth portion of the Greenway. Though from Maynooth towards Dublin there seems to be very little going on in parallel.
The lack of an Executive in Belfast doesn’t seem to have stopped Waterways Ireland doing other things: https://goo.gl/dT6G8E
Huge number of homeless camped out near the Dorset Street side, hopefully re-home them before the greenway gets started.
How long does it take these legends to build a cycleway? You’d think they were rebuilding the m50. Absolute cowboys. Don’t forget they haven’t even started building any of it west of Athlone. By the time it’s complete a quarter of a century will have past. This cycleway could be a fantastic tourist attraction and a real money maker for the towns and villages dotted along its route. Right now it’s a national embarrassment.
Maynooth to Dublin involves crossing a county line where all public projects slide into a murky grey area of responsibility-evading and a lack of local authority cooperation. It would make perfect sense to focus on the Royal Canal way from a commuting perspective first and then build the leisure and tourist sections, but that is not how we do things. It could also be that focussing on Kilcock to Maynooth is more visible and vote-friendly for those who won’t actually use the route at all.
I definitely agree with the focus on developing these greenways as local community and commuter routes. The tourist side of things, whilst welcome, will be secondary in usage to the former.
Despite being far cheaper and easier than any motor way with no land ownership issues (east of the Shannon at least) the rate of progress is disgraceful. I’ve been waiting well over a decade for work to commence on the stretch I use from Leixlip to Clonsilla which is an impassable swamp for 4 months of the year. I’ve seen multiple reports of funding being assigned, environmental impact assessors on site over 3 years ago, lots of noise but zero progress in that time. There is always some excuse, such as they want to complete the tricky deep sinking section at Blanchardstown first, but that has not progressed either and money is being spent out at Kilcock which doesn’t connect to anywhere except maybe a handful of commuters to Maynooth. The epic procrastination is infuriating, but the same approach is taken to other even more important and far more expensive social development projects like social housing and public transport. Throw a report at it so the fuss will die down, ignore report for a few years, conduct full review to make it look like something is being done, ignore that, rinse, repeat.