*To ask the Minister for Transport his plans and proposals to deal with the challenge of the Red Cow Roundabout in respect of the Luas project; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Charlie O'Connor.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 25th February, 2004.
Ref No: 6332/04
Answered by Minister for Transport
The position in regard to the N7/M50 junction (Red Cow Roundabout) is that it is part of the plans for the upgrade of the M50 overall. The NRA and South Dublin County Council are currently preparing plans, including a Motorway Order and Environmental Impact Statement, for the N7/M50 (Red Cow) junction. The upgrade works at the Red Cow interchange are intended to remove as much traffic as possible from the signal controlled environment through the provision of additional structures and free flow slips that are separated from other traffic movements. This will significantly increase the overall capacity of the interchange and reduce the Luas/car interface so that both the road and Luas network will have increased capacity. The proposed works will reduce the volume of traffic interfacing with Luas (i.e. traffic crossed by Luas) by more than half. Subject to satisfactory progress in planning and design and securing An Bord Pleanala approval, it is expected that work on upgrading the Red Cow interchange will commence in Spring 2005 and be completed by Spring 2007.
In the meantime, both the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) and Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) are satisfied that Luas, despite the current unsatisfactory traffic conditions at the Red Cow junction, will be able to operate satisfactorily using existing traffic signal sequences, pending the upgrade of the junction as part of the M50 upgrade project. The trams are driven in much the same way as a car or a bus in that tram drivers yield to other traffic if they are confronted with a red light.