Green light for Dublin trams link
The green light has been given to plans for the long-awaited link-up of the two Luas tram lines in Dublin city centre.
Up to 800 jobs will be created when work on the new 370 million euro Luas BXD route starts next year.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said the new line will revolutionise public transport in the capital. He said: "When complete, Dublin will have an integrated rail and light rail network that is the norm in other modern cities.
"For the first time, it will be possible to get a train in Maynooth or Leixlip and get out in Dundrum or Sandyford with just one change. Similarly, you will be able to get on the Luas at Tallaght and with just one change, get out at the new DIT campus or at Trinity College."
The 6km tram line will be in operation by 2017 and will extend the St Stephen's Green service through the city centre, down Dawson Street and around College Green, where it will split in two.
The northern track will go over O'Connell Bridge and link up with the Red Line at the junction of O'Connell Street and Abbey Street, with the southern line using Marlborough Street and using a new bridge being built across the River Liffey.
The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) described the line as a significant milestone in the creation of a high quality, integrated public transport network for Dublin.
Michael Sheedy, Director of Light Rail, said the granting of the Railway Order by An Bord Pleanala is great news for Luas and commuters.
"Luas Broombridge is RPA's most important project," said Mr Sheedy. "It will form the foundation of a high quality integrated network which will significantly reduce the current high reliance on the private car."
The new line will have 13 stops and offer an end-to-end journey time of 24 minutes. It is expected to attract an additional eight million passenger journeys on Luas each year, on top of the 29 million passengers carried in 2011.