30/06/2010

Underground DART Plan Goes Ahead

Iarnród Éireann is to lodge its application to build Dublin's Underground DART system today.

The Underground DART, or Interconnector, has been described as the most important part of the Government's Transport 21 scheme and will see the linking of the city's transportation system.

This morning, Dublin South Central TD Michael Mulcahy welcomed the application saying it was the "single most important piece of infrastructure in the state".

"DART Underground will transform the commuter experience. It is a central part of the Government's Transport 21 investment plan and will link all rail lines - DART, Commuter, Intercity, Luas and Metro - to form an integrated network," he said.

He added: "I am proud to support this essential project which will create thousands of jobs during construction and it is estimated DART Underground will increase GDP by about €450m a year by 2020. I would urge members of the public to support the construction of the underground line."

The minister added that upon completion of DART Underground, Northern line DART services from Balbriggan and Howth would be connected to the Heuston main line through the underground tunnel from Docklands Station to Inchicore.

According to Mr Mulchay, Pearse Station will also become a major transport hub, freeing up much of the congestion that is currently experienced at Connolly.

"Construction will begin next year and is due to be completed by 2018, freeing the city of gridlock," Deputy Mulcahy added.

Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey has consistently said that the Underground DART and Metro North will both go ahead despite a combined cost of around €5bn.

The application to An Bord Pleanála for the Underground DART comes as the board prepares to give its decision, expected by the end of next month, on Metro North, which will run from the city centre to Swords.

The DART line, running from the Docklands to Heuston Station and Inchicore, will also allow rail passengers from Cork to connect to Belfast.

Like the Metro North it will be a public-private partnership and the Government will not have to pay for its construction until it is completed as planned in 2018.

(DW/BMcC)

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