First look at €50m plan for Merrion Gates bottleneck
It is one of the most detested bottlenecks in Dublin city but transport chiefs have unveiled ambitious plans to tackle it.
A total of €50m is to be spent on improving the current congestion around the Merrion Gates on the south side of the city.
A new road is also proposed by the National Transport Authority to cross the Dart line at Strand Road while walking and cycling facilities are also planned.
It is hoped the new route would ease delays for commuters and motorists during rush hour.
A public consultation period begins today around proposals to remove the traffic blackspot from the Sandymount/Merrion - Blackrock corridor, which includes a new cycleway along Dublin Bay between Irishtown and Seapoint and completion of the Blackrock to city centre pedestrian and cycle route.
The main elements of the plan include:
• A new cycleway to run along Dublin Bay between Irishtown and Seapoint totalling 6.5km, plus completion of the Blackrock to city centre pedestrian and cycle route.
• The Merrion Gate level crossing will be closed and the area made a cul-de-sac with a pedestrian and cycling underpass beneath the Dart line.
• The Strand Road - which connects with the Merrion Road - will be realigned to include a new bridge over the Dart line, that will be located some 250m north of the current level crossing.
• This short link road will connect the southern end of the Strand Road to Merrion Road, north of the existing Merrion Gates junction and pass through the grounds of Merrion Hall and the car park area of Our Lady Queen of Peace Church.
• A 250m pedestrian boardwalk over the beach on the Strand Road is also proposed.
• A major upgrade of the Rock Road and Merrion Road will include new bus lanes and a segregated cycletrack.
• A segregated cycleway on Rock Road will move through parkland until Blackrock station, before continuing onto Idrone Terrace and Newtown Avenue. Sections of these roads will become one-way to facilitate the cycletrack.
"As the pace of economic activity continues to pick up, there are more people coming and going to work, more people moving about and more people visiting the city for business and pleasure," said Transport Minister Shane Ross.
"This is all very positive but it does place a strain on our transport infrastructure.
"The area around Merrion Gates is a case in point and the document that the NTA is publishing today, not only presents a detailed analysis of the transport needs along this stretch but also lays out a framework for tackling the situation once and for all.
"Today marks the beginning of a consultation process and the NTA is anxious that as many people as possible engage in that process."
The NTA's chief executive Anne Graham said the proposed solution was "preferred" but was subject to public consultation.
"To ensure the plan is as good as it can possibly be, we are from today, actively consulting with the public," she said.
If members of local communities, public transport users, cyclists, road users or the business community have suggestions as to how we can do this better, we will certainly reflect that in the finalised plans," Ms Graham added.
The cost of the coastal element of the scheme, which includes the new road bypassing Merrion Gates, is between €22m and €26m.
The estimated cost of the Rock Road/Merrion Road improvements are between €18m and €22m.