I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 1:
Section 3: In page 4, before section 3, the mfollowing new section inserted:
3. —Section 43 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the insertion after subsection (2) of the following subsection:
‘(2A) Notwithstanding subsection (2) and section 46(4), direct access from any adjoining land to a motorway or from the motorway to such land may be granted by the Authority to Córas Iompar Éireann in respect of a light railway—
(a) authorised by a light railway order under section 9 of the Transport (Dublin Light Rail) Act, 1996, or
(b) the subject of an application for a light railway order under section 3 of that Act,
and, accordingly, any such access shall not be a contravention of subsection (2) or section 46(4).'.".
The background to this amendment lies in the intention that the proposed Dublin LRT will cross the sliproads of the M50 motorway at the Red Cow junction on the Naas Road intersection. It is proposed that a special bridge carrying the LRT over the M50 will be constructed running parallel to the roundabout and on a level with the Naas Road; the light railway will cross the top of the M50 sliproads to gain access to and from the bridge.
This proposed design was agreed following consultation between the Dublin Transportation Office, the LRT project team, the NRA and South Dublin County Council. It was agreed that the light railway crossing is feasible and that Luas vehicles would operate within the traffic light system determined by road traffic.
The proposal is based on a DTO report which shows that it is possible to run the LRT line through the interchange without interfering with road traffic. Accordingly, planning and design of the LRT have been carried out on this basis.
Access to the M50 motorway, in the sense in which the layman might understand it, is not envisaged. It has recently come to attention, however, that the light railway might in law be regarded as accessing the motorway in that it is proposed that it will cross the tops of the sliproads to and from the motorway. As is regularly the case, the map accompanying the motorway declaration order shows most of the sliproads to be included in the formal motorway: this is done to avoid access being sought to the motorway from land adjoining the sliproads. In view of the prohibitions in the Roads Act, 1993, on direct access to motorways, it is considered prudent to amend the Act to facilitate the proposal.
The amendment gives the NRA authority to grant direct access to a motorway to CIE in respect of a light railway proposed under the Transport (Dublin Light Rail) Act, 1996. It is important to note that this power to grant direct access will rest with the NRA which has statutory responsibility for the provision of a safe and efficient network of national roads. All aspects of the LRT design, including the design at the Naas Road intersection, will be open to detailed consideration as part of the statutory consent procedures to be followed under the Transport (Dublin Light Rail) Act, 1996.