A COMPLETION date of 2027 is being targeted as the design contract for the Limerick to Cork motorway is signed.
It is estimated the 80km motorway will see a journey time of 47 minutes between Blarney and Patickswell in Limerick.
Limerick City and County Council is working in partnership with Cork County Council, Cork City Council, Tipperary County Council, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and Transport Infrastructure Ireland on developing the N/M20 Cork to Limerick Road Improvement Scheme, which is part of Project Ireland 2040.
Paula Cogan, President of Cork Chamber, said the two cities will finally be connected effectively.
“The M20 is an essential investment for the future of the not just the south and mid-west but for the nation. It will be a major economic catalyst, creating a powerful economic corridor comprising 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 €128 million per annum and support an additional 4,000-5,000 direct jobs in the region.
Ms Cogan added: “The M20 has the potential to unlock major economic benefit for the nation as a whole.” The €15m design contract has been awarded to JB Barry Transportation and partners WSP and Sweco - who will act as technical advisors.
The design stage is expected to take two years, with construction commencement expected in 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, it will run from the junction with the N21 at Attyflynn, to the proposed Cork northern ring road near Blarney.