herald

Saturday 23 September 2017

Luas works branded a 'disaster' as Eden Quay turn banned for cars

Luas line construction has left the city centre like a ‘war zone’
Luas line construction has left the city centre like a ‘war zone’

The ongoing Luas works have been labelled a "monumental disaster" for many businesses along the new route.

The Luas Cross City project, which will finally connect the Green and Red lines, will run for 5.6km between St Stephen's Green and the Iarnrod Eireann Broombridge Station on the Maynooth railway line.

Yesterday, motorists were banned from turning on to Eden Quay from O'Connell Bridge as part of the ongoing construction works.

"Any kind of works like this are going to cause some kind of traffic disruption - it's to be expected," said AA Roadwatch director Arwen Foley.

Disruption

She said that so far there had been "no major traffic disruption, nothing out of the ordinary".

"In the long run, we'll have a better transport infrastructure which will only benefit Irish commuters," she added.

The permanent change regarding Eden Quay will only allow public transport and cyclists to access the route.

Luas Cross City urged all motorists wishing to access Eden Quay to do so using alternative routes.

Many roads outside busy spots such as The Westin hotel have been turned into building sites.

This and other negatives including heavy congestion and high city centre parking fees are increasingly pushing shoppers out to big suburban shopping centres, it has been claimed.

Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, told the Herald that areas such as Dawson Street have become like a "war zone".

"The Luas works are a monumental disaster for restaurants along the new Luas route being developed," he said.

"Businesses have been victimised by these construction works. The lack of progress, consultation and no completion date means our members cannot create a definite plan.

"If you were to write a book on how not to communicate with businesses, this project would be the perfect example."

Mr Cummins added that a number of restaurants on Dawson Street even had to close due to a lack of footfall because of the Luas works.

"Hopefully, when they're finished it will attract customers into the city centre, but what about those businesses that have closed their doors because of these works?" he said.

"We firmly believe that these works should continue on a 24-hour schedule to fast-track its completion."

Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke said that although it has been a difficult couple of years for businesses along the route, the finished project will increase their footfall.

"On the main it is a really positive thing. It has been difficult for businesses to manage logistically, but the cross-city project has been working with us to limit the impact.

"We're hoping the worst is over and are anticipating that it will be ready before Christmas."

Grainne Mackin, head of communications for the Luas Cross City project, said she refuted claims that there has been no communication with businesses along the new route.

"We have three liaison officers who work in the communications office just off Dawson Street," she said.

"We have a face-to-face point of contact with all the restaurants and the stakeholders along the new route, so in terms of communicating and engaging we have done a lot.

"We expect the project will be finished and running by the end of the year. In June, we're also hoping to do a gauge run which will see the first tram going from Stephen's Green all the way through to the new route."

Ms Mackin added that having 24/7 works would lead to further disputes among businesses.

"There are a lot of works at night and also during the weekend. However, restaurants that open at 6pm don't want people working late and making a lot of noise," she said.

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