Any further delays with the upgrade of the Dunkettle interchange will hamper growth in the Cork and Munster region, according to Ibec, the group that represents Irish business.
The group described the project as “vital for the development of Cork and the Munster region” amid fears that it could be delayed.
Leaked reports over the weekend suggested that the project could face significant delays unless a new pricing structure can be agreed with contractors.
The interchange was originally projected to cost €100 million, but costs have already risen to €115 million and a failure to agree a cost with the current contractors could see the project pushed out another 12 to 18 months.
As a result of the concerns, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) is to be summoned before the Oireachtas transport committee to discuss the plan for the long awaited upgrade, which was granted planning permission six years ago.
“Any further delays with this upgrade is not just a concern for Cork but also for the wider economy,” said Ibec’s Cork Regional President Sean Moran.
“This is a key transport route with regional and national significance.
“Cork is growing at pace and needs the necessary infrastructure to support that growth and enhance regional connectivity and competitiveness, which are vital to a thriving Cork economy,” he added.
Mr Moran said that the Dunkettle upgrades would facilitate economic growth in Cork and that ensuring the timely delivery of the project is vital.
“The Government must use available resources to deliver critical infrastructure and improve quality of life.
“The project, which was approved planning permission in 2013, is essential in order to improve accessibility, eliminate major daily congestion challenges and help improve the attractiveness of Cork to investors and talent to fill key roles,” he added.
“It will play a key role in driving regional growth and help create and sustain employment, supporting Cork to reach its full growth potential.
“The Dunkettle interchange upgrade is a key growth enabler for Cork and any further delays will hamper regional and national economic growth.”