Works to narrow down the route options to connect Cork and Limerick are underway as part of Phase 2 of the N/M20 Cork to Limerick scheme.
During this Phase, the N/M20 project team is developing and appraising road-based and rail-based options for better connectivity between the two cities.
The aim is to identify a shortlist of route options and following examination, appraisal and consultations, to identify a preferred option.
Phase 1, which took place in February, identified the N20 corridor between Charleville and Mallow as the preferred area within which Phase 2 will now take place.
It was chosen as it provides the best journey time saving between the two cities, while it also has the potential to save the greatest number of road-based collisions and accidents.
It’s thought it would improve public transport times and reliability, as well as having the highest level of traffic relief to towns and villages in the area, while also improving connectivity for the regional towns along the corridor.
The overall area between Charleville and Mallow is similar to that which was previously looked at for the M20 project in 2008, however three additional areas have been added.
The largest of those is between Charleville and Limerick City, which has been included in order to consider rail-based options and consider connectivity with proposed public transport projects.
Two smaller areas between Blarney and Cork city, for connection to public transport projects, and an additional area east of Adare to consider connectivity with the proposed Foynes to Limerick Road have also been included.
Once the shortlisted road and rail options have been identified, a public consultation will take place. It’s expected that will happen later this year, following which the options will be further developed and appraised by the project team.
Covid-19 restrictions at the current time will make public consultation challenging, however those behind the project say that in the immediate future this “will take place through a variety of means which will include updates to the website, liaison with stakeholders including representative community and sectoral organisations as well as public representatives.”