PUBLIC transport Minister Alan Kelly has approved almost €700,000 to complete the first phase of the southern bus lane into the city.
The project will see a dedicated bus lane built from the county/city boundary at the Crescent Shopping Centre to Punch’s Cross along the Ballinacurra Road.
The second phase has yet to be determined, with the remainder of the bus lane either going through O’Connell Avenue or via the Hyde Road.
Mr Kelly has approved some €693,000 through the National Transport Authority under the Regional Cities Accessibility Programme. He said the scheme will see bus journey times into the city improve by some ten minutes.
Bus stops in the area will also have real-time passenger information in future, as is currently the case in Dublin.
There will also be upgraded pedestrian measures and road safety improvements.
“This investment will allow a range of projects to go ahead, designed to improve traffic flows and remove pinch points, provide better access for buses and taxis, and provide new or better routes for cyclists and pedestrians. Limerick will also see major investment under the Smarter Travel Areas competition but this investment is designed to enhance that and to make both cities more transport friendly,” Mr Kelly said.
Southside Labour councillor Orla McLoughlin welcomed the investment - and the jobs that are expected to come with it.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader, she said: “If it means people will be employed in the city to start construction work, it is a massive bonus for that area. In Dublin and every other city, they are working on initiatives like these all the time so I am happy things are starting in Limerick.”
The plan for bus lanes has divided residents and councillors. Householders said if car parking spaces are axed in favour of bus lanes, more accidents will be caused, especially among the elderly population.
They also said the value of their homes could plummet.