A 2027 completion date is being targeted after the signing of the design contract for the new Cork to Limerick motorway.
It is estimated the 80km motorway will see a journey time of 47 minutes between Blarney and Patrickswell in Limerick.
Limerick City and County Council is working in partnership with Cork County Council, Cork City Council, Tipperary County Council, the Government, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland on developing the N/M20 Cork to Limerick Road Improvement Scheme, which is part of Project Ireland 2040.
Cork Chamber president Paula Cogan said the new motorway would finally see the two cities connected effectively.
“The M20 is an essential investment for the future of not just the south and mid-west, but for the nation. It will be a major economic catalyst, creating a powerful economic corridor comprising of Cork, Limerick, and Galway,” she said.
“Connecting the country’s second, third, and fourth largest cities by motorway will significantly boost efforts to achieve the type of balanced regional development that is badly needed on the island of Ireland. It is a key component of Ireland 2040 and must be delivered without delay,” she added.
A 2017 report — ‘Gearing up for the M20: A Route to Success’ by Indecon Economic Consultants and RED C Research — jointly commissioned by Cork and Limerick chambers, showed that, when completed, the M20 will provide a gross exchequer impact of up to €128m per annum and directly support an additional 4,000-5,000 jobs in the region.
The €15m design contract has been awarded to JB Barry Transportation and partners WSP. Sweco will act as technical advisors.
The design stage is expected to take two years, with construction commencement scheduled for 2023.
A project office has been established in Limerick. The final cost of delivering the road is believed to be in the region of €900m.
Once built, the motorway will run from the junction with the N21 at Attyflynn, to the proposed Cork Northern Ring Road near Blarney.