New bridge for Ringsend

Image Courtesy of Kennedy Wilson.

Image Courtesy of Kennedy Wilson.

As reported in a previous issue, plans are moving ahead at pace to construct a new €30 million bridge over the mouth of the river Dodder at Grand Canal Docks. The bridge would connect Thorncastle Street in Ringsend to Britain Quay at the end of St. John Rogerson’s Quay, where a major new development is underway.

Capital Dock the major new build on the south quays by property development firm Kennedy Wilson, spans almost five acres and includes a 19-storey tower.

The intention is to link up Dublin’s south docks with the Poolbeg peninsula, which has recently been designated a strategic development zone (SDZ) and includes the old Irish Glass Bottle site.

Although it is known where the bridge will span, its design and footprint has yet to be finalised. It is not yet known if the majority of the new traffic into Ringsend will turn right down Thorncastle Street or proceed straight down York Road, perpendicular to the East Link, but local residents are worried.

St. Patrick’s rowing club, for example, recently met with planners from Dublin City Council (DCC) to express their concerns. The clubhouse is directly in the firing line and members are wondering if the new construction will block access of their boats to the waterside, or worse still, take out the clubhouse entirely.

The new bridge should ease some of the pressure on rush hour traffic accessing the quays from Macken Street, but this is of little comfort to local residents such as George Kearns and Damien Cassidy.

Kearns once campaigned to save the historical hailing station which stood at the end of Britain Quay, but was demolished in 2007 under suspicious circumstances to clear a path for a road connection to the famous U2 tower.

That construction never went ahead, but Capital Dock has since taken its place, and the new bridge is back on the agenda. On the other side of the river, local solicitor Damien Cassidy, who has campaigned on many issues affecting the Ringsend and Irishtown areas, is concerned. He’s worried that traffic may be diverted down Cambridge Roadand past St. Patrick’s boys and girl’s national schools, which could be a safety risk.

Plans for a second bridge, carrying pedestrians and cyclists from the north docks to Forbes Street have been shelved, as DCC shifts its focus to the new Dodder project.

Jim Keogan, assistant chief executive of DCC said that the construction is “essential for the development of the peninsula,” and will “unlock the potential of the lands designated for development in Poolbeg.”

DCC went on to say that “work has commenced on the preparation of the draft SDZ plan for Poolbeg, which includes a traffic study of the area to inform the design of the bridge.”

O’Mahony Pike have been appointed architects on the project which is expected to launch in 2020.

By Paul O’Rourke