Work to start on €370M Luas BXD in 2013 – Varadkar.

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has announced that work will start on the new Luas BXD line next year after Cabinet discussed the project’s updated business plan today.

Minister Varadkar will now ask the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) to prepare for work to start in May 2013.
“This is an important step for the Luas BXD project, which will link up the existing Luas lines and give Dublin an integrated commuter rail network for the first time. Cabinet has discussed the business plan for Luas BXD, and I have now asked the NTA and RPA to proceed with the procurement and contractual arrangements which are necessary to allow the project to proceed in 2013,” Minister Varadkar said.
“The two Luas lines should have been joined up years ago. It’s a privilege for me as Minister for Transport to be able to finish the job.”
Minister Varadkar informed Cabinet today of his intention to approve arrangements for the construction of the LUAS BXD. The Minister’s decision is based on the project’s updated business case, and follows An Bord Pleanála’s decision earlier this year to grant a Railway Order which allows the line to be built.
The project will cost €370 million and is likely to generate up to 800 jobs during the construction phase, with a further 60 permanent jobs. Funding for the project has been included in the Government’s capital allocations under the Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016 plan, which gave priority to Luas BXD.
Luas BXD is a key infrastructure project and firmly in keeping with the Programme for Government’s intention to rebalance transport policy in favour of public transport.
The first stage of construction – the pre-construction enabling works – is due to start in May 2013 with the main construction works starting in 2015. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2017.
Every effort will be made to minimise the impact of construction works on the business community, road users, pedestrians, and residents in the city centre area. An initial working group comprising the RPA, NTA and Dublin City Council has been established to develop traffic management arrangements during the construction phase.
There are now proposals to set up a broader Project Forum chaired by Minister Varadkar including representatives of traders and businesses, An Garda Síochána, Dublin Bus, Dublin City Council plus the RPA  and the NTA.