Adjournment Debate. - Dublin Outer Ring Road.

I appreciate the opportunity to raise this matter. It is predominantly a local authority roads matter, but it transcends various local authorities and has a serious impact on south Lucan and east Lucan. I ask the Minister to take an overview of the concerns of the people I represent in this House. The outer ring road was probably put on County Dublin development plan maps back in 1972. It is to link the Galway road with the Naas road and further afield. It was also on drawings to transcend the Liffey valley as an outer crossing parallel to the existing M50 motorway.

In the last review of its development plan, Fingal County Council, in its wisdom, deleted this road. South Dublin County Council engineering and design personnel are beavering away with environmental impact statements, studies and designs, while the neighbouring local authority has decided that the road should come to a grinding halt at the Galway road junction. The likely scenario that emerges is a colossal build up of traffic on already over congested roads. The population in north Kildare and the eastern region generally sees tailbacks on the Galway road dual carriageway every morning. It now appears that it is intended that this outer ring road would terminate at a grade separated junction over the dual carriageway on the Galway road and add thousands more cars to an already congested situation.

There seems to be no logic, cohesion or Department of Environment and Local Government overview to try to bring together neighbouring local authorities to do what is practical and realistic. Will the Minister ask a senior roads engineer in the Department of the Environment and Local Government to see what the alternative and more suitable solutions to this problem are?

The outer ring road will see substantial commercial traffic going through a very large new residential area. It is also proposed and recommended in the recent Bacon report that a further 6,000 to 8,000 new homes be built in the adjoining area. It makes no commercial sense to proceed with what is proposed. It is now intended to make a dual carriageway of the outer ring road from the current Balgaddy roundabout to the Kingswood junction on the Naas dual carriageway. It will, effectively, become an attempted by-pass of a toll bridge on the Westlink, yet terminating nowhere other than pushing traffic back down through the old village of Lucan, back down to the Strawberry Beds and back on to the main dual carriage going into and coming out of town.

It appears that the outer ring road being attempted by South Dublin Council has no logic, reason or practical use because of the decision of Fingal County Council. I urge that we move towards realism as to how traffic in that west side of Dublin can move. There have been many discussions about the rail service to Heuston station, the connection under the Phoenix park and the provision of a decent commuter rail service which has been talked about, planned and proposed. This infrastructural project makes no sense in the way it is being put together in a piecemeal manner by South Dublin County Council without consultation with neighbouring authorities. It appears, therefore, that it will create chaos at the Lucan end of the outer ring road.

My colleague, the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Deputy Dempsey, is unable to be in the House this evening to respond and he has asked me to do so on his behalf. Statutory responsibility for determining applications for approval to environmental impact statements and compulsory purchase orders in respect of proposed road developments has been transferred from the Minister to An Bord Pleanála from 1 January 2001. The current position is that the environmental impact statement and compulsory purchase order in respect of the outer ring road in south west Dublin are with An Bord Pleanála for decision.

The outer ring road proposes to link the Galway road to the Tallaght by-passvia a grade separated interchange on the Naas road in accordance with the South Dublin County Council's 1998 development plan. An existing section of the scheme has been completed from the Gal way road to the Balgaddy roundabout in recent years as development of adjoining areas has progressed. The proposed scheme follows a corridor reserved for this purpose on Dublin County Council's and later South Dublin County Council's development plan since the early 1970's. The lands abutting this corridor in the Lucan area were also zoned residential in the same plan and have since been developed.

The completion of the outer ring road scheme forms an integral transport objective of the 1998 South Dublin County Council development plan which sets out the local authority planning policies and objectives for its area. The council has identified the need for the scheme to facilitate economic development of the area. This prioritisation is also endorsed by the original Dublin Transportation Initiative Strategy and has been reiterated in the updated Dublin Transportation Office Platform for Change strategy. The provision of the outer ring road is essential to the development of the Adamstown site in Lucan, one of the largest single residential development sites in the Dublin region having a capacity to accommodate some 8,000 housing units.

It is envisaged that the proposed scheme will particularly improve infrastructure links between the towns of Lucan, Clondalkin and Tallaght within the council's area. The road will also service Grange Castle International Business Park which comprises 300 acres approximately and where a major multinational company is currently in the process of developing a facility that will provide 3,500 jobs.

The construction of the outer ring road is also intended to improve the quality of life for residents in the Lucan area in that it will provide a further direct link between the Galway Road, the Nangor Road and the Naas Road and should reduce the extent of "rat-running" by motorists through existing residential areas. The proposed scheme would also support additional bus routes for the area. Cycleways and footpaths will also be provided which will link into existing and proposed amenities in the general area.

Arising from a commitment by the Government under the Action for Housing programme, a total of £194 million is being provided in the 2001-04 period for non-national road schemes to support housing and other related developments in and around major urban areas. The outer ring road was one of 42 projects approved by the Department in December 2000 for funding under the new programme. It is expected that the 42 projects will facilitate the provision of more than 43,000 housing units and benefit more than 900 hectares of industrial land. The outer ring road was one of 42 projects approved by the Department in December 2000 for funding under the new programme. It is expected the 42 projects will facilitate the provision of over 43,000 housing units and benefit over 900 hectares of industrial land.

I understand the environmental impact statement and compulsory purchase order went on public display on 1 March 2001 and 9 March 2001 respectively and were subsequently submitted to An Bord Pleanála for approval on 5 March 2001 and 18 April 2001 respectively. A number of sub missions have been received and an oral hearing will be arranged by An Bord Pleanála in the near future. It is expected the board should be in a position to decide on the environmental impact statement and compulsory purchase order by autumn 2001.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.55 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 3 May 2001.