By Sarah Slater
Dublin City Council are fine-tuning the final traffic adjustments ahead of the opening of new main entrance into the RTÉ campus from the extremely busy N11 dual carriageway.
Extensive work on the entrance has been ongoing since late last year and this week DCC are to carry out final tests on the traffic lights leading in and out of the Montrose campus.
Work on a pedestrian crossing across the N11 has now been completed and the “no fuss” opening on the entrance is expected to take place next week.
The new entrance will alleviate congestion at the junction of Nutley Lane and N11 Stillorgan Road and “enhance traffic safety,” according to RTÉ. It will replace the existing vehicle entrance on Nutley Lane, which will become a pedestrian and bicycle entrance only.
An RTÉ spokesperson has confirmed that all the auxiliary works are now complete by them and that they, “are waiting for Dublin City Council (DCC) to sign off on the work.
“There was a traffic island that would have impacted on cyclists so that has now been altered with overhead traffic lights on the dual carriageway. Electronic signage warning motorists of the new road layout changes and continuing tests are to be erected this week.”
The new entrance had been timetabled to be opened earlier this year but technical issues detailed the opening..
The National Transport Authority (NTA) initially objected to the new entrance plan on the basis that direct access to and from RTÉ on to the Stillorgan dual carriageway would itself cause congestion and introduce “an additional delay point” on a public transport corridor.
The NTA subsequently indicated to DCC that it was satisfied with the further information RTÉ provided on the plan and planning permission was granted.
Work at the campus, included the demolition of a creche built 10 years ago which as now been relocated, while the current site where the national broadcaster’s award-winning soap opera, Fair City, is also due to be closed this month with filming winding up shortly.
All crew and actors will be re-homed at the new site which is “almost complete,” according to the RTÉ spokesperson in the northeastern area of the campus, which will be ready in early November, allowing for the filming of all outside scenes to be recorded.
More than €3 million has been spent by the national broadcaster on security and other costs linked to the sale of nine acres of prime land on the Montrose campus which has been operating since 1963.
The ongoing works are a direct result of RTÉ selling 8.64 acres of land, to Cairn Homes for €107.5m last year, which was more than €30m above the guide price. Up to 500 houses and apartments are planned to be built on the sold land.
RTÉ has to pay a tax bill of more than €20 million on the sale of its land, while some €10 million of the proceeds has been used to pay down part of its debt, according to senior management.
The 'Project Montrose' site - which represents just over a quarter of RTÉ's existing 32.12-acre campus - is expected to attract interest from a wide range of Irish and international investors.
In its annual report for 2017, published last May, RTÉ’s revenues were at the same level as 2016 and were helped by reduced operating costs. The national broadcaster returned a lower operating deficit, of €6.4m in 2017 compared to €19.4m in 2016.
However, the accounts showed that RTÉ made its third annual loss and its seventh loss in the past nine years.
RTÉ has been carrying out broad restructuring of operations and infrastructure for the past several years, which has already seen the shedding of almost 300 jobs through voluntary exit and early retirement schemes.