Sod turned on Royal Canal Greenway between Phibsborough and North Strand Road

Dublin City Council this morning has turned the sod on the long-delayed Royal Canal Greenway Phase 3 — the 2.1km section of the route between Newcomen Bridge at North Strand Road to Cross Guns Bridge at Phibsborough Road.

The media launch of the construction happened along the canal this morning with local politicians attending.

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The project was approved by councillors 7 years ago, in 2015, and was delayed a number of times after issues such as having to re-tender for the project.

IrishCycle.com reported last month that a building firm was awarded the contract to construct the project.

The 2.1km Phase 3 will add to the existing link from North Strand Road to the quays in the Docklands. It will link to the Clontarf to City Centre route on Strand Road and in the Docklands it will link into a growing network including onto the Royal Canal Cycleway, City Quay and Lombard Street.

The €30.85m price tag for Phase 3 includes a new bridge across the Royal Canal between Drumcondra and Phibsborough to allow for the greenway switching from the south to the north bank of the canal. The project

CORRECTION/UPDATE ON TREES: Originally, this article reported that 20 trees of different sizes will be cut, but a report which had not been seen by this website at the time of publication outlines how the plan includes the felling of 45 of the 176 existing trees along the project’s route. Based on an arborist’s advice, these trees are “recommended for immediate removal due to ill health and as a result of the works”.

The report on trees, Victor Coe, Project Resident Engineer in the council’s Active Travel office, said:: “Considerable consideration has been given to existing trees along the route of the Royal Canal Greenway Phase 3, and in short the ground conditions are not natural alongside the Canal and Railway, and as such always renders the trees vulnerable. The Arborist’s advice is that it is prudent to cut these trees down now to reduce the negative impact on trees leading to their decline/death within a five or ten-year period.”

The council said that several measures are put into place to minimise the loss of trees including the reduction of the greenway width from 4.5m width to 4.0m; raising the level of the greenway, to reduce digging into root systems; realigning the greenway to minimise the impact on existing trees; and using bespoke kerbing to reduce digging which could sever the root systems. Further measures are outlined in the report on trees dated.

Coe said: “These measures will ensure that trees removed facilitate construction will be felled in a controlled manner, are to be replaced with a new tree of suitable maturity and species to the approval of DCC
Parks & Landscaping Department. This will help to ensure the long-term viability of both the retained and of any replanted trees. This also applies to existing trees which are deemed to require replacing due to their current poor condition irrespective of the Greenway project.”

In addition to replacement trees, it is planned to plant around 350 metres of native hedgerow, and ‘meadow’ areas using native seeds which is suitable for cutting once or twice a year outside bird nesting season. On the narrower section of the greenway across the canal from Croke Park, there will also be new water-side and wall-climbing planting.

The towpath is now closed from Binn’s Bridge to Russell St Bridge to Clarke’s Bridge for two weeks for site investigation works. Later this month there will be closers for tree felling between Drumcondra and Phibsborough, although the north or south towpaths will be kept open while work is happening on the other side.

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