THE stops on Cork’s proposed light rail system have been chosen, with predictions that 46 million journeys will be taken each year on the network — trams will run every five minutes.
City councillors were briefed today by the National Transport Authority (NTA) on multi-billion euro investment plans, part of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS).
It sets out a strategy for transport provision as the population in the Cork Metropolitan Area is expected to grow by up to 60% by 2040.
A Luas line is proposed between Ballincollig and Mahon, which will be 17km in length.
There are 25 proposed stops along the line, including at key locations including UCC, CIT, Kent Station, Patrick’s Street, and Mahon Point.
46 million passengers are expected to use the service annually when it comes on stream.
From Ballincollig to Mahon, the journey time is expected to be 47 minutes, while it’s 20 minutes from Patrick’s Street to Mahon.
27 trams are needed to ensure a five-minute frequency on the route.
Next month a specialist engineering team is expected to be appointed to undertake a route options analysis and develop initial designs for the proposal.
It’s estimated to cost in the region of €1billion.
200km of primary cycling routes, 150km of secondary cycling routes, 140km of greenways and 60km of inter-urban cycling routes are to be implemented.
There is the potential for 20 million cycling trips annually upon delivery of these routes.
56,000 daily car trips are potentially transferable to cycling, while 13,000 cycling trips made during morning rush hour are expected to relieve traffic congestion on some of Cork’s worst-hit routes.
It is intended to deliver the full cycling network that has already been identified in work undertaken with Cork City Council and Cork County Council.
€230 million is the estimated cost — not including upgrades in the BusConnests plan.
Eight new rail stations are proposed, including three north of the city centre, and five east. These include locations such as Monard, Blackpool/Kilbarry, Dunkettle, Ballynoe, and Carrigtwohill West.
It’s anticipated a journey from Blarney to Kent Station will take 12 minutes, while from Midleton to Cobh/Mallow will take 50 minutes.
More than 3,000 passengers are expected to change between rail, bus and Luas services at Kent Station at peak morning time.
10km of dual-track will be in place to Midleton, while there will be full electrification of the 62km network between Midelton, Cobh and Mallow.
22 new two-car electric train sets are required for the plans.
It’s estimated to cost €274 million.
More bus routes and a higher frequency of services are to be provided under the plan which will see the bus fleet grow to 220 double-deck vehicles.
100 km of priority measures and bus lanes are to be provided, which is seven times the current provision.
49,000 passengers will be catered for in the peak morning hour, with 85 million passengers using the service annually.
Six strategic park & ride locations are proposed across the city.
Tenders to appoint a number of engineering design teams for the initial stages of BusConnects Cork will issue next month.
€545 million is the estimated cost of the BusConnects plan.
50km of National road improvements and 70km of Regional Road improvements are to be delivered.
The Dunkettle Interchange Upgrade is due to be completed by 2022.
The M28 Cork to Ringaskiddy Road has a 2028 completion date.
2035 is the proposed date of completion for the Northern Ring Road.
A dedicated public transport corridor is to be implemented on the N27 to Cork Airport.
New Northern and Southern Distributor roads are also proposed, as are HGV restrictions in Cork city centre.
The overall estimated cost of the plans is €1.39 billion.
Independent Councillor Mick Finn called the plans an “exciting package for Cork” which he believes will “help redress the imbalance in infrastructural development outside Dublin to date”.
He also said the light rail is “crucial to Cork fulfilling its potential and indeed the city’s role as a region driver”.
Sinn Féin Councillor Mick Nugent said that while the strategy is good, he’s concerned about its reliance on external factors such as Government funding, the economic situation and the NDP which is being reviewed.
He said he remained concerned that the Northern Ring Road is a long way off, however, he said: “There are some good things in terms of setting out the strategy for the city.
"You’re talking three new suburban rail stations in the northside as well.
"It’s good to have a strategy there and it’s good to have it on paper.”
Fianna Fáil Councillor Terry Shannon said the proposals are “excellent” but “reports have to come off the pages and be implemented”.
“The time for talking is now over, the funding must be put in place and the projects must continue,” he concluded.