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Sandymount cycle path tied to coastal defences would open in 2027… and would still be non-continuous

— Route would have 400 metre gap between promenade and Merrion Road.
— Coastal
defences estimates: €12m to €49m for 800 metre section.
— Timeline is “troubling” says councillor who suggested flood defences tie-in to avoid trialling option which makes Strand Road one-way for motorists.

A Sandymount cycle path tied to coastal flood defences would open in 2027 at the earliest and would still be non-continuous, local councillors on Dublin City’s South East Area Committee were told on Monday afternoon.

At the meeting, the plans outlined were for a nearly 800-metre section of flood defences between Sean Moore Park and the northern end of the Sandymount Promenade.

If a cycle route was built with the new flood defences and along the existing promenade, that would still leave a nearly 400 metre section of a gap between the south end of the promenade and the Merrion Road.

STC, a group of locals who object to Dublin City Council’s proposed trial of a two-way cycle path on Strand Road, has suggested people cycling mix with motorists on that section. But campaigners said last week that such a plan is dangerous.

The STC group and Cllr Mannix Flynn brought the council to court over its plan which would have made Strand Road one-way to make space for a two-way cycle path. The High Court ruled in favour of the group, but Dublin City Council has said it will appeal the judgment.

Cllr Flynn on Monday tabled a motion at the meeting for council officals to engage with STC’s latest suggested “alternative” plan, which is at least the fourth version of an alternative plan issued by the group.

Council management said that they were unable to engage in the plan when the legal appeal is pending. Mary Taylor, the council’s director of services on the Southside of the city, said: “We won’t be consulting with residents groups who are party to the judicial review process that is on-going, so, we are not in a position to actually do that.”

IMAGE: The location of the planned works, the existing promenade and the gap which would be left.

The information on how long just part of the flood defences will take to build was contained in a presentation from Gerry O’Connell, a senior engineer working on flood defences in Dublin City Council.

He said what was the 200 year flood level risk in 2000 is now the 50 year flood risk.

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Responding to the councillor’s questions about reducing the timelines, O’Connell said that he could not see a reduction of more than 6 months depending on the option chosen.

Cllr James Geoghegan (FG) said: “If you want to build a world-class cycleway, greenway or whatever you want to call it, that option 3 is where it is at.”

Despite officials and campaigners repeatedly outlining that coastal defences would take many years when the Strand Road trial was discussed over the last year, Cllr Geoghegan on Monday said: “The timelines are kind of troubling in many ways in that it would take as long as you are describing.”

Cllr Claire O’Connor (FF) — who also supported objectors to the trial — asked was there any interim solutions. O’Connell responded outlining the current solutions to tackle coastal flooding.

O’Connell said that there are about 50 different environmental challenges and that the project would definitely impact the environment and it’s not a matter of “scoping them out” but rather mitigation will be needed.

He said the wider option would likely result in a lower wall needed and the height of the wall could likely be reduced if the wider promenade option was chosen.

Phase 2 of the Sandymount Flood Alleviation Scheme currently has four options according to the presentation slides:

  • Option 1: Rock armour and wall height increase, 1.5m above footpath level. Preliminary estimate €10m euro. Possible mainly OPW funding. Business case required. Significant environmental constraints. A foreshore licence and/or boundary extension is required for all options.
  • Option 2: 8m wide promenade, 1.2m above footpath level. Preliminary estimate 12.3 million euro. Possible mainly OPW funding. Business case required. Large environmental issues. Foreshore licence.
  • Option 3: 3 metre wide promenade. Preliminary estimate €49m euro. Other sources of funding are required than just the OPW. Large environmental mitigations. Foreshore licence.
  • Option 4: Preliminary estimate €21 million euro, new flood wall on seaside. Diversion of 110kV ESB cable. Other funding sources are required. Large environmental issues. Foreshore licence.

A visual outline of the options:

WATCH: South East Area Committee presentation on flood defences and Traffic Advisory Group issues: is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

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Cian Ginty

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