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The Shape of Things to Come

The news that the outer orbital motorway and the eastern by-pass tunnel were to be abandoned sees a sea change of sorts in the mindset of the higher echelons on Government. They have decided to cut loose those not merely those parts of the infrastructure blueprint of the country which are outside of Transport 21 but more essentially, they have decided to cut out the insane parts. The eastern port tunnel has been on the plans since your humble blogger was a lad, and it has been always properly opposed. The outer orbital motorway, which looks like its needed when it's on a map, is a new-ish thing. Both approach the problem of shifting people around by going around towns and cities instead of going to all the bother of sitting down and trying to make the cities and towns actually work. Maybe now that this tactic has been scuppered by circumstance we may see some real thought being giving to a properly effective DTA.

Question is, once the government decides to get rid of the loopy projects, where do they draw the line on what is or isn't loopy? Seasoned observers of the Navan Railway saga may be developing a nervous twitch at this point, and well they should. The news that the Docklands surface station may be kept you should think also provides some nervous twitching, but there is logic to keeping it to work in tandem with the underground station nearby. Given the slump in house sales, albeit with a slight recovery being seen in Dublin, there may not be as big a financial hit to the docklands developers to allow it to stay, and the consequent variation/retention of the Hansfield development planning permission may not prove too hard to pull off either.

But once there is a mindset abroad that can accept, for the first time in seven or eight years, that infrastructure projects can be shelved, you then have what was coined Squeaky Bum Time in the remaining years to 2015. Metro North and the Interconnector must be certain to be done, and the consequent DART2 project and, hopefully, Irish Rail may get the DASH2 project done before the Interconnector is finished. Well, we can dream, cant we?

The planned extensions of the current Luas lines will happen.

What looks in trouble? Metro West, for one. Lucan Luas? Yes, the upgrade of Green Line Luas to full blown Metro? Yes. Metro from Tallaght to Stephen's Green, will undoubtedly never leave the drawing board, if it even get's the funding for a drawing board in the first place.

Any dreams of 200KPH to Cork will be long fingered, ditto Belfast. You can forget any dreams of the KRP ever being extended past Hazelhatch.

We must baton down the hatches, we must ensure that what can be saved will be saved. Don't forget that the same Department of Finance which was never able to even predict its revenue during the good years is in change of doling out the cash in the coming bad years, and there are plenty of Government TD's out on the sticks wondering about their seats.

Expect trouble ahead.

Last Updated: March 09 2008 15:02:13
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