WORK on a controversial new bus lane into the city centre is expected to get under way this autumn.
City Hall has secured €2.5m funding from the Department of Transport for the first phase of the Quality Bus Corridor, which will stretch from the county/city boundary at Ballinacurra Creek to Punch’s Cross.
Council transport officials David Keane and Neal Boyle have confirmed they expect to have engineers on site by autumn to commence the scheme, which has divided councillors and residents.
Residents have long opposed the scheme, citing a drop in value of their homes, increased traffic hazard and safety as their core reasons.
Ten contractors have been shortlisted for the project. This will now be whittled down before the council goes to tender.
Mr Boyle said although work could begin by early October, the council is to embark on a “fact-finding mission” to seek the views of the southside residents.
“We will be meeting [residents] in the coming weeks to try and address some of the concerns they have. There is a little bit of misinformation going on in terms of what is going on. We have been happier and more satisfied they have more knowledge of what is going on; they were not getting the full picture in terms of it. We will be meeting a lot more of them, and there may be accommodation works,” he said.
The secretary of the Ballinacurra Road residents association Tony Howlett confirmed the group are in contact with the council - but they remain opposed to the scheme, which will see thousands of car parking spaces axed. He said each house on the road has a specific requirement – and the residents would be seeking to have their requirements met.
“Since there are almost 161 homes on the Ballinacurra Road, each house has a unique requirement. Residents on the opposite side [to the bus lane] might want double yellow lines at the front, they might want their driveways at the back more accessible,” he explained.
Last year, the council offered residents a variety of incentives to get them to accept a bus lane in their area. These measures included improved access to the rear of their homes, as well as CCTV and lighting. The council had wanted to build the green route through O’Connell Avenue into the city centre.
But opposition from residents, who secured a High Court ruling to prevent the project going ahead, saw the project halted. However, City Council has come back with the first phase of the scheme, passed by councillors in October last.
The second phase could either go through O’Connell Avenue, or down the Hyde Road into the centre if it begins.