Written Answers. - Dublin Port Tunnel.

Mary Upton

Question:

88 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Transport the discussions he has had with Dublin City Council regarding proposals to increase the height of the Dublin Port tunnel; the estimated cost of such works; the extent to which such works would further delay the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2762/03]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

171 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport if he expects the Dublin Port tunnel to accommodate all the HGV traffic approaching the city from all directions; if restrictions are likely to be placed in respect of the type of vehicle using the tunnel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2694/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 88 and 171 together.

Construction work is under way on the Dublin Port tunnel which has a construction contract value of almost €450 million. The tunnel will provide direct motorway access to Dublin Port and is expected to be open in early 2005. On completion, the tunnel will very significantly reduce the number of heavy goods vehicles using the city centre. National Roads Authority estimates suggest that in the year of opening 7,200 heavy goods vehicles per day will use the tunnel.

With a clearance height of 4.9 metres and an operating height restriction of 4.65 metres, the Dublin Port tunnel is higher than most European tunnels where height limits apply. The tunnel also fully complies with an EU directive which requires that heavy goods vehicles up to four metres in height must be accommodated in member states when undertaking international journeys.

In addition, according to a survey carried out by the Dublin Port Company in 2002 of trucks exiting the port, over 98% of all trucks were below 4.65 metres and will be accommodated by the tunnel. In view of the above, and following discussion with the NRA and Dublin City Council regarding this matter no decision has been taken to increase the height of the tunnel.

By taking significant numbers of HGVs and cars off the streets of Dublin every day, the port tunnel will provide much needed relief from congestion for freight distributors and other port-related traffic. Operational issues connected with the port tunnel – including access for different types of vehicles – are matters for the NRA and Dublin City Council.
As I indicated in my reply on 26 November 2002, arising from diverse concerns including on road and rail safety and future access to Dublin Port, my Department is drawing up proposals to re-introduce regulations for the maximum height of vehicles. It is my intention that consultations will take place with all interested parties on the proposals with a view to settling an appropriate maximum height for such vehicles.
Finally, I should mention that a regional freight study is being undertaken by the Dublin Transportation Office as part of its integrated transportation strategy for the greater Dublin area to 2016. This study will identify appropriate routes and measures for the better management of general goods distribution for freight trips to and from Dublin Port, Dún Laoghaire Port and Dublin Airport.