Port Tunnel – might as well fill it up

So they don’t want cars using the port tunnel in case they might be heading for town. Now the truckers don’t want to use it either.

So what will we do with the two big holes? We could have the world’s biggest wine cellar. Or a dedicated joyriders track. We could make it into a big landfill. Or we could use it to bury the stuff we dig up for the metro.

It’s a bit late in the day, isn’t it, for the truckers to be kicking up a stink about having to use the port tunnel? If my reading of this is right, they still want to be able to drive those artics right up the quays.

I don’t think so.

The whole point of the thing was to bring relief and calm to the city centre. We are going to have to make this plain: the city centre in the future cannot be a route to anywhere else. It can only be a destination. At some point we will have to stop cars using town as a transit route.

That’s the point of pedestrianisation. That’s why the road lanes in O’Connell Street has been reduced from three to two. And that’s why we have a plan to take all the big trucks out of town. That was the whole point of it from Dublin’s point of view.

The truckers must have known this on the day that someone decided that the tunnel would enter from the north instead of the west. 

Why the tunnel was built from the north has never been really explained and the suspicion remains that it was built merely as the first leg of the hotly contested Eastern Bypass.

But you can see that the truckers have a point. The busiest road in the State is the N7 and it’s a long way around the M50 to get to the M1 especially with the disaster of the West Link in the way. 

It says something about the state of planning in this town when it’s quicker for a truck to pass by O’Connell Bridge than to use the ring road. Given that 40 per cent of port traffic is bound for destinations within the M50, directing all that traffic back out on to the M50 is going to make a bad situation worse.

In fact, it really can’t be done. Which means that the tunnel will probably have very little positive effect on the city’s traffic.

One question that will have to be addressed is whether Dublin Port can be allowed to grow any further given that the city can’t handle the traffic. The plan for the new port at Bremore outside Balbriggan looks like a good idea.

Meanwhile, there’s two second-hand holes up for grabs. 

A quick metro job

GIVEN that a) the port tunnel was never supposed to be a twin tunnel, b) we don’t want cars to use it, and c) we’re going to move the port anyway, why don’t we use the second tunnel for something more useful.

Something like the metro. If one bore of the tunnel was used for an airport metro link then we could have it up and running within two years. 

This would leave more funds for Luas routes on the Northside and allow for a big park and ride beside the M1, keeping those dreaded cars out of the city.

Just a thought.