I thank the Senator for raising this issue on which he has been a loud and extremely effective voice. It is a difficult issue because when we embark on projects like this, some communities almost inevitably suffer discomfort or worse. It is partly my job to ensure it is Government policy that the kind of disruption to which the Senator refers, particularly in Ranelagh, is deferred or does not happen at all. It is difficult to embark on a project without doing that but I assure the Senator we have no intention of splitting communities in any way. We will do everything we can to ensure no communities are split by this particular project, which is of such great importance to the entire city and county of Dublin.
The recently published national development plan, NDP, which was launched earlier this year by Government as part of Project Ireland 2040, brings together the metro north and metro south projects, as envisaged by the NTA's greater Dublin area, GDA, strategy, into one project called MetroLink. It is a massive project and Ranelagh is an important part of it. Ranelagh will greatly benefit from it but the sensitivities of the people of the community have to be taken into consideration.
The MetroLink project is the development of a north-south urban railway service that will run between Swords and Sandyford, connecting key destinations along the 26 km route. There will be 25 stations in total, 15 of them brand new. A large proportion of the route will be underground, including where it passes under the important city centre area and Dublin Airport. The underground section will terminate close to the Charlemont stop on the Luas green line, south city area, where the metro will connect to and run southwards on the existing Luas green line. The Luas green line will be upgraded to metro standard as part of the project. It will provide Dublin with a high-capacity, high-frequency, cross-city rail corridor, serving critical destinations such as Swords, Dublin Airport, Dublin City University, Ballymun, the Mater Hospital and existing destinations along the Luas green line to Sandyford. MetroLink will provide faster reliable journey times to and from these key destinations while offering interchange with other rail, DART expansion, light rail and bus services.
It is predicted that capacity for 15,000 passengers per direction per hour during the busiest peak times will be required along this corridor. MetroLink will have the capacity for 30 trains per hour in each direction, so it will greatly enhance the public transport offering in Dublin. The creation of about 4,000 jobs during construction is also envisaged, which is highly significant for the economy in the region. The NTA, in conjunction with TII, recently completed a public consultation process on the emerging preferred route. The emerging preferred route is the proposal which has been identified as the likely optimal scheme from a technical design perspective, without the benefit of public consultation and input. It is not a finalised and selected scheme. The final layout will only be determined after consideration and evaluation of the issues raised during the consultation process. The purpose of that process, which also includes public consultation meetings, was to obtain the views of the general public, particularly those along the identified emerging route and to take that input into account in finalising a selected route. I gather there have been consultations and meetings on this subject in the Senator's area.
Following receipt of all of the submissions, the issues and concerns identified are being carefully considered by TII and the NTA in determining the final scheme proposal. A public consultation report is expected to be published later this year, following a full appraisal of the 8,000 submissions received. The NTA and TII expect that an application for a railway order, comprising the final design scheme, will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála during quarter 3 of 2019. A further public consultation will be undertaken in 2019 as part of the statutory planning consent process. This will include a report assessing the environmental impacts of the project as well as final details of any land acquisitions needed for the scheme. Subject to receipt of planning approval, construction of the project is expected to commence in 2021 with MetroLink open for passenger use in 2027.
I absolutely understand the concerns raised by affected stakeholders, including those communities in Ranelagh, so well represented by Senator Humphreys. I believe that the MetroLink project can bring many benefits. I am confident that the NTA and TII, through the consultative process that they have under way, will find a way of delivering the MetroLink project, maintain good routes that interchange with other public transport modes, and do it in a way that respects the social and community life of our city.
Given the MetroLink emerging preferred route proposal is the subject of a current independent public consultation process, I am sure the Senator will understand it would be highly inappropriate for me to comment any further on the details of the proposal at this time.