The Chamber is calling for a start to the planning process in the wake of Minister Coveney’s comments
THE Chief Executive of Limerick Chamber is calling on the government to begin the planning process for a new motorway between Limerick and Cork "as soon as possible".
James Ring made his comments after it was confirmed that an upgrade of the N20 is likely to be given the green light following a review of the current Capital Spending Plan.
While the review will not take place until 2018, Dr Ring says the planning process should be started now rather than in two years time.
”We have already lost two years and the cost of the planning process is only a small part of the total cost,” he said.
The overall cost of the project is likely to be around €1bn but it is thought the planning process will cost in the region of €30m.
Last week, Minister Simon Coveney said it was his “hope and instinct” that the motorway would be put back on the agenda.
“A statement from a minister at the level of Simon Coveney is really powerful,” said Dr Ring who added that there is strong political support for the project in Limerick and Cork.
He says he has also spoken with Minister Michael Noonan who was “very receptive” to his proposal.
“It has to happen, there is a political will (for it) and there is an economic case for it to happen,” said Dr Ring who says a motorway between the two cities is the “last piece of the jigsaw".
Plans to upgrade the N20 were shelved in October 2013 by the then Transport minister, Leo Varadakar, who said the cost was “not feasible” given the state of the country’s finances. Just over a year ago, his successor, Paschal Donoghue (now Minister for Public Expenditure), reiterated the government position, despite strong pressure from local business groups.