The background to this amendment lies in the intention that the proposed Dublin LRT will cross the M50 motorway at the Red Cow junction on the Naas Road intersection. A special bridge 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 slip roads in order to gain access to the bridge.
This design was agreed following consultation between the Dublin Transportation Office, the LRT project team, the National Roads Authority and South Dublin County Council. It was agreed that the light rail crossing is feasible and that Luas vehicles will operate within the traffic light system determined by the road traffic.
The DTO recommendation was based on a specially commissioned report which shows that it is possible to run the LRT line through the interchange without interfering with the road traffic. Planning and design of the LRT have been carried out on this basis. However, it has recently come to our attention that while access to the M50 motorway in the sense which the layman might understand it is not envisaged, the light rail might in law be regarded as accessing the motorway in that it will cross the tops of the ramps to and from the motorway, as is regularly the case. The map accompanying the motorway declaration order shows most of the ramps to be included in the motorway. This is not done to avoid access being sought to the motorway from the land adjoining the sliproads.
In view of the prohibitions of the Road 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 the motorway to CIE in respect of a light rail proposal 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 will be open for consideration as part of the statutory consent procedures under the Transport (Dublin Light Rail) Act, 1996.