Limerick to lead M20 motorway design project

Limerick to lead M20 motorway design project
Members of the public at the M20 Cork - Limerick motorway scheme public consultation in Blarney. Picture: Richard Mills.

TRANSPORT Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has reduced Cork County Council’s roads allocation by 2% for 2018 to €18.7 million while the design of the M20 motorway will be led by Limerick City and County Council.

TII has requested that Limerick’s local authority take the lead on the project as their roads division is better resourced to progress the scheme.

A Section 85 agreement will be brought to Cork County Council to allow Limerick City and County Council to develop the scheme in Cork.

The motorway will connect Limerick to Cork, bypassing the north Cork towns of Mallow and Charleville, and reducing journey times by more than 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, an allocation of just over €1 million has been made for maintenance on national roads in Cork, representing a 23% decrease on the 2017 allocation. Cork County Council director of services for roads Tom Stritch said the maintenance figure was a “serious concern” as allocations for non-national roads had also been reduced by 32%.

The discretionary maintenance grant allocation has been slightly cut to €9.2 million.

However, there were some increases, with the overall funding for regional and local roads boosted by a 22.4% increase to €44.5 million, while the restoration improvement grant has seen an 18.18% rise to €25 million.

In terms of major road schemes, half a million has been provided for enabling works on the N8/N25 Dunkettle Interchange with five tenders shortlisted to carry out works.

The N22 Ballyvourney to Macroom road will be progressed with €4m being made available for advance works, while €300,000 has been allocated for the M28 Cork to Ringaskiddy motorway which is currently being considered by An Bord Pleanála — with a decision due on April 13.

Pavement funding has been increased by €1.15m to €10,069,162 while €50,000 has been made available for tacking Japanese Knotweed.

County Mayor Declan Hurley said the report on roads allocations is “bittersweet”.

“It’s a long way short of what is needed,” he said. “I will be seeking a meeting with Transport Minister Shane Ross to discuss the issues further and address the ongoing concerns about roads around the county,” he added.

Frank O’Flynn (FF) said the Mallow Relief Road needs to be fast-tracked and described the cuts to maintenance grants as the work of an anti-rural Ireland Government.

Seamus McGrath (FF) described the allocations as a “mixed bag” and expressed concern that Dunkettle Interchange project will take 12 to 15 months before progressing to construction and another two to three years before completion.

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