Councillors vote to remove mention of multi-billion euro city bypass plan
Councillors have voted to remove all references to the controversial multi-billion euro Eastern bypass motorway in the new city development plan.
The route, designed to link Portmarnock to Sandymount either by a tunnel or a bridge across Dublin Bay, has long been a contentious issue with concerns raised about the environmental impact of the road and the projected cost.
The works have been delayed due to a lack of funds and it is expected the project will not get underway before 2030.
However, Dublin City Councillors took the opportunity presented by the draft plan meeting to voice their disapproval of the idea.
"The reason for this road is flawed and it is not in agreement with sustainable transport objectives," Cllr Ciaran Cuffe said.
"Spending billions on another motorway for car commuters is the last thing that Dublin needs.
"Instead we should be investing in improvements in public transport, cycling and walking," the Green Party councillor told the Herald.
"We already have a Port Tunnel, what we don't need to do is encourage more cars into the city. It would be bad for Dublin and bad for the planet."
The linking of both north and south Dublin should be achieved through sustainable public transport, he said.
Plans for the Eastern bypass were detailed in a 2009 National Roads Authority report which outlined three options costing between €3.9bn to €4.3bn.
The cheapest involved the construction of bridges across the Liffey and across Sandymount Strand.
Another option included the bridge across the port, along with tunnels under Booterstown. The third, and most expensive, included three tunnels which would keep the entire bypass underground. Though the proposal to remove it from the plan passed by a majority, other councillors had voiced their support for the idea.
Fianna Fail's Cllr Deirdre Heney said that the Eastern bypass was "vital" for the city.
"I think it's an aspirational plan for the future. We need to complete the ring road around the city," she said.
Independent Ruairi McGinley believes that the route is needed to protect the future of the port.
Failure to build it "will reduce the city to total gridlock and probably could lead to the closure of Dublin Port if you project out far enough," he warned. Council planning boss Jim Keogan said that the plan is a national infrastructure objective and that it would be "remiss" of the council to ignore that.
The proposed route will ultimately be decided on by the NRA and An Bord Pleanala, and the council will have limited ability to object to it.
However, they still voted to remove references to the road from the document.
City councillors met twice this week to discuss more than 300 motions regarding the draft development plan which sets out the blueprint for planning in the capital for 2016-2022.