Ireland has decided to redesign the €3bn DART Underground project in Dublin to cut costs.
DART Underground is a proposed rail tunnel that would run under the city centre from the Northern Line to Inchicore on the Kildare Line.
Aimed at creating railway links between the national networks, the proposed project would have stations at Docklands, Pearse, St Stephen’s Green, Christchurch, Heuston and Inchicore.
Minister for transport, tourism and sport Paschal Donohoe said that the project would not become a part of the larger €4bn DART Expansion Programme.
The decision was made in preparation for the next capital plan from 2016, the details of which are currently being finalised.
The Irish Government has adopted the recommendations of the National Transport Authority (NTA), which has reviewed the transport infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Region.
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The NTA has recommended re-examination of the DART Underground project to establish rail connectivity with a more economical solution.
Donohoe said: "As government works to further stabilise the public finances, we must continue to seek the best value for taxpayers’ money in everything we do.
"A project of such magnitude, in the order of €4bn, has to be designed and delivered in a way that best ensures cost-effectiveness for the taxpayer and the state.
"The overall DART Expansion Programme has a key role to play in delivering an efficient transport system and I intend to progress key elements of the overall programme but the NTA’s recommendations that the tunnel element can be delivered at a reduced cost to the taxpayer have to be accepted."
DART Underground project received planning consent in 2011, and became operative in March 2014 following judicial review proceedings taken by a number of third parties.
The tunnel design was originally envisaged to be a twin 7.5km route about 25m below the city streets.
Work on the redesigned project is not expected to begin before 2020.
Opposition party Fianna Fail has criticised the government’s move.
Transport, tourism and sport spokesman Timmy Dooley was quoted by the Press Association as saying: "The economic case for DART Underground is strong. The time to invest in key infrastructure projects is now.
"This project would yield huge economic benefits for the country and transform our public transport network for commuters."
Image: IÉ 2750 Class diesel multiple unit 2751 at Limerick railway station. Photo: courtesy of Dawgz via Wikipedia.