The preferred route corridor for the long-awaited N/M20 Cork-to-Limerick project has today been announced.
A multi-modal transport project which includes active travel infrastructure for walking and cycling, improvements to public transport, new and improved safe road infrastructure and environmental integration for communities along the N20 transport corridor between Cork and Limerick, is now proposed.
The project team has stated that 80 kilometres of new and improved dual carriageway road between Cork City and Patrickswell, Limerick will address the existing road’s safety deficiencies.
The road design, including cross section, road type (protected road or motorway), junction strategy and accommodation works will be developed during the next phase of the project.
The preferred road-based option broadly follows the previous 2010 M20 Cork - Limerick scheme.
Between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of the existing N20 road will be reused to develop the new dual carriageway.
The project team said bypasses of Mallow, New Twopothouse, Buttevant, Charleville and Banogue “will remove strategic traffic and heavy goods vehicles from these communities, significantly improving air quality, reducing noise levels, and further supporting public realm improvements, sustainable transport and vibrant communities”.
The project is also set to have a major impact on the attractiveness of public transport, achieving intercity journey time savings of up to 30 minutes for express bus services between Cork and Limerick and improving journey times and reliability for local bus services along the N20 corridor.
Additionally, the project team examined a range of rail-based options and has recommended the development of a ‘no change’ additional hourly rail service between the two cities, via Limerick Junction, reducing intercity rail journey times by over 20 minutes between Cork and Limerick.
The new rail service is being recommended by the project team for consideration within the All Island Strategic Rail Review.
The project will deliver 80 kilometres of transformative active travel (walking and cycle) infrastructure, connecting together the communities of Cork, Blarney, Grenagh, Rathduff, Mallow, New Twopothouse, Buttevant, Charleville, Bruree, Banogue, Croom, Patrickswell and Limerick.
Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan said today’s announcement is “an important step forward in progressing a range of transportation solutions connecting Limerick and Cork as identified in the Government’s National Development Plan 2021-2030, that will incorporate public transport and active travel infrastructure for walking and cycling from its inception, as well as to the upgrading of national road infrastructure which will deliver needed safety improvements for all users”.
“We look forward to hearing the views of the public now and to the project being delivered,” he added.
The impact of the integrated proposal will be “transformative and far reaching”, according to Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council which is progressing the project in partnership with Cork County Council, Cork City Council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the Department of Transport.
“The importance of this project has long been acknowledged as critical for the delivery of proper connectivity between the second and third cities in the country and along the Atlantic Economic Corridor.
“It will reduce traffic congestion and help to re-shape and re-energise communities in towns and villages which will be freed from through traffic.
“It will promote active travel on a scale not previously seen and most of all, will improve road safety on one of Ireland’s most dangerous roads,” he said.
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central, Pádraig O’Sullivan said he welcomed the selection.
“It is important that the work starts as soon as possible and that the new road would ideally link with a new northern ring road connecting Bishopstown with Blarney and Glanmire,” Mr O’Sullivan added.
Mallow based Cork East TD Seán Sherlock also welcomed the route selection.
"Thankfully the towns of Mallow, Buttevant and Charleville will now be bypassed,” he said.
“62 people have died on the existing road in the past 25 years.
“We must see funding secured and proceed to planning stage so that we can have a safer road between the two cities,” the Labour TD continued.
An online public display platform, providing a virtual display room that allows the public and other stakeholders to view and interact with the project information and maps for the preferred transport solution has now gone live.
The public display information and maps will also be available in the N/M20 Project Office in Lissanalta House, Dooradoyle, Limerick and a number of council public offices and public libraries between Cork and Limerick.
The N/M20 project team has said property owners along the preferred option will be notified by post and invited to consult with the project team, either in person in Limerick or Mallow, or by online or telephone meetings during the next phase of the project.
For further information visit www.corklimerick.ie or contact the project office at email@example.com or telephone (061) 973730.