Luas crosses Liffey as city prepares for major traffic changes
A Luas tram crossed the River Liffey yesterday as the Cross City project edged closer to completion.
Tests have been continuing on the tram line ahead of its official opening later this year.
Today is the last day private motorists will be able to take a right turn from Bachelors Walk across O'Connell Bridge, as part of the city's new traffic plan.
In addition, there will only be one lane for traffic along the quays - from Upper Ormond Quay to Eden Quay on the northside and from the Rosie Hackett Bridge to Wellington Quay on the southside - to make way for new bus lanes.
Dublin City Council has rejected claims that the plan will cost jobs.
Mandate, the union that represents 40,000 retail, bar and administrative workers, said the new traffic plans, which are set to come into force tomorrow, will cost livelihoods.
Council managers hit back at Mandate, whose members work at major retailers including Dunnes Stores, Penneys and Marks & Spencer, condemning it for failing to carry out a study of the impact on business in the city centre.
Dublin Chamber of Commerce also claimed some employers are holding off on recruiting staff and questioned whether the "piecemeal" plans will tempt more people to use public transport.
A council spokesperson insisted that the traffic management plan will actually boost business.
Mandate general secretary John Douglas said the arrangements could permanently damage the retail sector.
He said shoppers drive to the city centre and, by making access more difficult, they will turn instead to online shopping, drive to out-of-town outlets or start cross-border shopping.
"This will no doubt have an impact on jobs in Dublin city centre," he said.
However, the council said the traffic changes will help more people to access the city centre and remove delays experienced by public transport users.
A spokesperson emphasised there will still be access for cars at all shops and car parks in the city centre.