THE case for building the Limerick to Cork motorway will be made by businesses in both cities, with a socio-economic study being carried out to determine its benefits.
Limerick and Cork Chambers jointly commissioned the study by Indecon Economic Consultants and RedC Research. It is expected to be completed by May.
The Government will publish its mid-term review of the Capital Investment Plan for 2017 in Autumn and Minister for Transport Shane Ross allocated €1m for a for a review of the proposed motorway's status late last year.
Cork Chamber CEO Conor Healy said the collaboration between the chambers will benefit the southern regions and the building of the motorway would open Cork up to the west of Ireland.
“As we seek to plan for Ireland in the future the need for a motorway connection between Cork and Limerick cannot be ignored. It is in the national interest that our regional economies expand for Ireland to remain competitive and to complement growth in the Capital Region which is can only be achieved through investment in infrastructure,” he said.
“In order to facilitate growth across Munster and the wider Atlantic Corridor, the cities of Cork and Limerick must be connected with a motorway fit for purpose to meet increasing traffic volumes from transport heavy industries along the M20 corridor and to enable new economic expansion," he added.
Limerick Chamber CEO James Ring said: “The M20 is probably the most significant piece of infrastructure yet to be developed in the State. Current severe capacity constraints on the N20 are holding back the development of the region. This motorway would have a hugely beneficial impact on our city regions. With the right road network linking them, they would effectively become one large labour and customer marketplace. It’s a game changer for the corridor and all the more important because of the looming uncertainty about Brexit.
“This would give us a real edge, allowing for lower transport costs, increased competition in the economy, tax benefits from increased labour supply and employment effects,” he added.
Housing Minister Simon Coveney said this week that the motorway was seen by the Government as a priority project and added that ways to fund the 80km route were being examined.
The cost of the motorway is estimated at €850m and could reduce travel time between Limerick and Cork by over 15 minutes. It would run from Blarney in Cork to Attyflynn near Patrickswell in Co. Limerick.