Planning application for new Cork-Limerick road may be lodged in 2023

Planning application for new Cork-Limerick road may be lodged in 2023

The project will better connect Cork and Limerick, improve the transport network, and address safety issues associated with the N20 route.

A PLANNING application for the long-awaited N/M20 Cork-to-Limerick project could be lodged in 2023, the Government has confirmed.

The project will better connect Cork and Limerick, improve the transport network, and address safety issues associated with the N20 route.

The N/M20 is being developed by Cork City and County Council, as well as by Limerick’s local authorities, the Department of Transport, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), as part of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the Taoiseach said work is “progressing on the M20 project, which is currently at the planning-and-design stage and is going through the process of route selection”.

“This has involved public consultation and we expect an announcement on a preferred route corridor in early 2022.

“Once the preferred route is selected, it will then go to the detailed design stage and the preparation of a business case for government.

“That’s likely in early 2023, and, if approved, it then goes into planning,” the spokesperson said.

Route selection

In September, it was announced that the decision on the preferred option for the proposed Cork-to-Limerick motorway had been delayed until early next year.

A number of road-based and rail-based options have been shortlisted to improve the connection between the two counties.

Speaking about the project, Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, Thomas Gould, said delays have left families, businesses, and communities in limbo.

“There are people whose lives are on hold, who can’t sell their homes, who won’t buy homes in the areas affected. It affects businesses: I know one family who were looking to build an extension onto their house. They can’t do that now, because they’re not sure if the route will go through their property.

“These delays are really upsetting,” Mr Gould said.

“At least, if a route was decided upon, they could work with the communities then affected to minimise the consequences of the route, but, at the moment, people are in limbo.”

Mr Gould highlighted safety concerns about the N20 route and said that parts of the road are “completely unsuitable, when you’re connecting the second city in the State to the third city in the State and the amount of traffic”.

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central, Pádraig O’Sullivan, also expressed disappointment at the recent delays in the route selection.

Mr O’Sullivan said that this decision “needs to be made urgently, both for the potential residents likely to be affected by any decision, but also the thousands who want to see the project progressed”.

“At the same time, I would welcome that the Government has continued to keep this issue as a priority, as evidenced by its inclusion in the NDP, and look forward to its progression, as it is key strategic infrastructure for the region,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Consultation for the N/M20 Cork-to-Limerick project generated unprecedented public engagement.

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