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Major Dublin city traffic changes, which will see permanent restrictions on private cars using the Liffey quays to accommodate the new Cross City Luas line, will come into force next Sunday.
Cars will be banned from turning right from Bachelors Walk onto O’Connell Bridge, and general traffic will be reduced to one lane from Ormond Quay to Eden Quay on the northside and from Burgh Quay to Essex Quay on the south side, to create additional bus lanes.
The ban on cars turning right form the north quays onto O’Connell Bridge has been introduced to minimise the potential conflicts been cars and the new Luas trams as they travel north across the Liffey onto O’Connell Street.
Dublin City Council had previously planned to ban cars on Bachelors Walk from driving straight ahead onto Eden Quay,which would have eliminated the possibility of cars coming into contact with trams or blocking the Luas tracks, but scrapped the plan last April following pressure from some city businesses.
As a result motorists will be able to access Eden Quay, but with one traffic lane only open to them, and will be able to turn left onto O’Connell Street. The right hand turn onto the bridge will be reserved for buses, taxis and bicycles.
The reduction of car lanes on the north and south quays will give more space to buses and reduce the delays currently experienced by bus passengers on the quays the council said.
“The additional bus lanes will alleviate the difficulties faced by public transport on the quays, where the worst delays for buses in the city are experienced,” Brendan O’Brien of the council’s traffic department said.
“At the peak morning time of 8am to 9am, over 7,000 people travel along the north quays on buses. This compares to round 500 cars and the same number of cyclists.” He added that just 150 motorists an hour currently take the right turn from Bachelors Walk onto O’Connell Bridge at peak times.
While testing of trams on the Luas Cross city line has been on-going at night during the summer, the first daytime tests are due to take place on the line, which runs from St Stephen’s Green to Cabra, this Friday between 10am and 4pm.
However from September 11th empty trams will run on the line through the city centre every half hour as part of the driver training programme, ahead of the start of operations of the service in December.
The traffic changes will come into force 10.15 am on Sunday following the road closure for the Ironman 70.3 run.