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Enforceable Metrolink railway order expected this year

27 Feb 2024 / ireland Print

Enforceable Metrolink railway order is on track

An enforceable railway order is anticipated for Metrolink by late this year, Philip Lee LLP has said.

Tender documents will issue for advance works in 2025, with the final business case and Government approval to award contracts expected in 2026.

The ensuing construction phase will see passenger services start by the early 2030s, the firm has said.

The project is gaining momentum, the lawyers say in a briefing, with the oral hearing expected to conclude next month, public-construction-contract legal experts at the firm have said.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has appointed a multidisciplinary client partner team to provide programme management, office services, and oversight of all elements of procurement, design, engineering, safety, information management, and sustainability.

Contract packages

The project will be delivered in four core contract packages – a public-private partnership (PPP) and three design-build contracts.

Separate contracts will issue for advance works and enabling works.

Advance works will require separate contracts for:

  • Utility diversions,
  • Land access and demolition,
  • Archaeology,
  • Heritage,
  • Environmental monitoring, and
  • Utility protection works.

The estimated overall value of the advance-works contracts is approximately €200 million.

PPP contract

On 11 September, TII signalled its intention to hold a further market consultation for the PPP contract, prior to the anticipated call for competition.

This will focus on:

  • Nature and terms of the availability-based PPP,
  • Interests or concerns raised by potential investors and funders, including possible financing arrangements,
  • Nature and form of the expected interface agreement between the PPP contract and the design-build contracts, and
  • Performance matters for the three design-build contracts for the main tunnelling and civil-works components.

TII expects publication of a PPP contract notice, with the issue of the tender documents to shortlisted candidates, should the Railway Order be granted as expected in late 2024.

Last September, Project Ireland 2040 set out a pipeline for 50 of its largest individual projects confirming the timeline and cost range.

Infrastructure, Climate and Nature Fund

The Infrastructure, Climate and Nature Fund, introduced by the Government as part of Budget 2024, aims to supply funds to support capital investment in times of economic downturn to avoid ‘stop-start’ on major projects.

The previous iteration of Metrolink was suspended in 2011, despite having planning permission and funding secured, due to cuts to the capital budget that resulted in significant exchequer funds being lost.

The Philip Lee briefing says that the fund will provide a defence to any monetary concerns, particularly in the event of a future downturn in the economy.

The Metrolink website contains extensive imagery of how the new Swords-airport-city transport link will look.

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