DAA doubles community fund as €320m runway project gets underway

By Pádraig Hoare

Limerick civil engineering firm Roadbridge will co-partner Spanish giant FCC Construccion on the DAA’s €320m north runway project for Dublin Airport — with an extra €10m sweetener separately given by the authority to fund local community projects.

DAA, formerly known as Dublin Airport Authority, said the €320m contract was for the building of 306,000sq m of new runway and taxiways; 6km of new internal airport roads; new drainage and pollution controls; 7.5km of electrical cable; and more than 2,000 new runway and taxiway lights. The new runway will be over 1.5km north of the existing runway.

Roadbridge’s major Irish projects include Centre Parcs Longford, Facebook’s data centre in Clonee, the Gort to Tuam motorway, the Cullahill to Cashel motorway, DIT Grangegorman Campus, the Limerick Tunnel and Southern Ring Road.

FCC, which has built terminals, runways and control towers at Barcelona, Madrid, Mallorca, and in Colombia, has been involved in Irish projects such as the M50 upgrade, and buildings in the new Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) at Grangegorman.

DAA said the €320m project was a 50:50 split between the two firms. It said the extra €10m allocated for community measures would go towards a public park and other local issues.

The runway has been met with stiff oppositions for residents as well as farmers and property owners in the area in recent years, leading to a number of court actions. DAA said it was “mindful of its local communities” and that a voluntary house purchase scheme and a sound insulation programme for homes that will be affected are already in place.

The voluntary house scheme and sound insulation are included in the €320m contract.

The extra €10m for the community is not included in the €320m contract and is being paid separately by DAA, doubling its previous contributions to the community fund. DAA, which also runs Cork Airport, hit out at “onerous” planning conditions attached by An Bord Pleanála for the north runway project.

Conditions attached would limit flights at the airport’s busiest time of the day between 6am and 7am, and also at night, it said.

It said it “will make its case in relation to the conditions” as legislation was currently being drafted for an independent noise regulator at Dublin Airport.

The preparatory site works for the project will begin immediately, DAA said, and groundworks will start in January.

Construction of the new runway is due to be completed in early 2021 and commissioning will then take place, DAA added.

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