BUSINESS groups in Cork and Limerick have described the proposed Cork to Limerick Motorway as the "single most important project yet to be delivered for the nation’s road network."
There is renewed hope that the motorway will finally proceed after the Government confirmed this week that extra funding would be made available for capital projects.
Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe announced an increase in capital spending on infrastructure of €500m annually up to 2021.
Cork and Limerick chambers of commerce said the additional funds should be directed towards the M20 motorway project.
The chief executive of Cork Chamber Conor Healy said: “The statement by Minister Donohoe is very much welcome and moves us ever closer to the development of the M20 as the recovery in public finances once again allows us to ramp up investment in key projects with significant economic, competitiveness and social benefits.
"This is the single most important project yet to be delivered for the nation’s road network so the provision of additional funds, we feel, must move it closer to realisation.
“The M20 would not just connect the country’s second and third cities by motorway but would also link in with the Galway to Limerick motorway and therefore be a game changer for the Atlantic seaboard, really benefitting the three cities and their hinterlands and a geographical area from the north-west to south east.”
Among the key findings of a report commissioned by Cork and Limerick Chambers were:
·Development of the M20 would reduce Blarney to Patrickswell journey time by 16 minutes to approximately 47 minutes
·The M20 scheme would prevent approximately 118 accidents per annum
·The M20 would facilitate the development of a Cork-Limerick twin city region, which would provide a strong complement to Dublin and enable the opening of an Atlantic Economic Corridor
·The motorway would increase the labour force within a 45 minute commute of major employment centres by 23%
·The M20 has potential to support up to 5,400 additional direct jobs in the region
·The M20 would reduce stress and improve the quality of life for commuters