Limerick councillor calls for alternative M20 route to be explored

€350m could be saved by utilising existing Cork to Dublin motorway

Áine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Áine Fitzgerald

Limerick councillor calls for alternative M20 route to be explored

Cllr Gerald Mitchell is calling for a feasibility study to be carried out

A COUNTY councillor says that planners should take advantage of the existing Cork to Dublin motorway in the construction of the proposed M20 from Limerick to Cork.

Planners are being urged to explore the possibility of creating a new route for the road taking advantage of the existing M8.

According to Gerald Mitchell, FG, “the fact that you have a third of the motorway with a toll on it will save an awful lot of expense” in terms of the final cost of the project.

The savings, Cllr Mitchell said could be as much as €350m.

“It’s a link off the Tipperary road which would probably be bypassing four villages,  Caherconlish, Hospital, Knocklong and Ballylanders and you are straight onto the Cork/Dublin motorway at Mitchelstown. You are straight down to the tunnel and onto the airport,” said Cllr Mitchell of the proposed route.

“With the volume of traffic through Hospital at the moment, at peak times you can hardly cross the road to the various businesses,” he said, saying that there could be links to the villages from the motorway.

Last week the Leader reported how Sinn Fein councillor Seamus Browne called for a united front by councillors to ensure that the selected, direct  route for the proposed M20 motorway  from Limerick to Cork remains unchanged.  

“We need Limerick politicians of all parties to insist on the direct route connection through Charleville and Mallow which will allow for much greater connectivity with the west of the county,” he said.

Plans for the M20 Limerick-Cork motorway were shelved in 2010 due to lack of money for the €1bn project but the 105km route selected followed roughly the line of the existing Limerick Cork road.

But  there was disappointment in Limerick when it wasn’t included in the government’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Plan.  However, earlier this year, €1m was allocated to revisit the plans, reigniting hope that it could be included in the government’s plan when the mid-term review takes place this September.

Meanwhile, both Limerick and Cork Chambers of Commerce have commissioned consultants in a bid to make a watertight  business case for a direct Limerick to Cork route which they say is vital for the creation of “a dynamic and formidable Atlantic corridor.”

That report is due next month and will be presented to the government. But fears have now emerged that revisiting the plans, and financial considerations, could also reopen the route selection.

However, according to Cllr Mitchell who hails from Hospital “it is well worth a feasibility report and an expert report”.

“We will accept whatever it is. We only do this once so we should do it right.

“You could link it up to the Northern Distributor Route and it would be linking up to the technological park and the Eastlink Business Park and Troy Studios in Castletroy,” added Cllr Mitchell.