THE Government has been urged to commit to a definitive timeframe on the Cork to Limerick motorway after Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) declined to say if it will be delivered by 2027.
The M20 was included in the Government's 10-year Capital Development Plan and in April, pre-qualification documents for the €1 billion project were published to allow Limerick City and County Council – which is taking the design lead on the project – to hire contractors to bring the project through the planning and design stages.
Cork TD Michael McGrath said the Government and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) need to be clear on the timeframe for completion.
“Plans to develop a motorway link (M20) between Cork and Limerick have been announced a number of times by the government,” he said.
“If we are serious about regional balance, connecting the Republic's two largest cities outside of Dublin with a motorway should be a high priority,” he added.
A spokesperson for TII said: "The National Development Plan (NDP), which has been developed by Government to underpin the successful implementation of the new National Planning Framework, provides the strategic and financial framework for TII’s national roads programme for the period from 2018 to 2027.
The proposed Cork to Limerick Scheme is included amongst a number of major national road schemes that were identified for development during the period of the NDP and TII has provided an allocation of €1.5 million to Limerick City and County Council this year to advance planning and design work on the scheme. The Council is currently procuring the appointment of technical advisors for the scheme and it is anticipated that this will be finalised before the end of 2018.
“The scheme is at an early stage of development and it is not, therefore, possible at this time to indicate a likely timeframe for construction of the project which will, of course, be dependent upon the satisfactory conclusion of the statutory planning approval process," the spokesperson added.
Taoiseach Leo Vardakar put an end to speculation at the beginning of the year that the motorway could be rerouted through Cahir in Tipperary to link up with the M8 from Cork to Dublin.
The route will follow that of the current N20 to Limerick but will bypass towns such as Buttevant and Charleville.
Once built, it will run from the junction with the N21 at Attyflynn, to the proposed Cork northern ring road near Blarney.