The preferred route for the N/M20 has been announced
THE preferred route for the €1bn N/M20 Limerick to Cork road project has been announced by planners.
Public representatives from Limerick and Cork were briefed this Wednesday morning before the details were made public on the project's dedicated website - corklimerick.ie.
The announcement of the preferred route follows significant public consultation and detailed appraisal of a number of road-based and rail-based options and active travel strategy.
It is proposed that 80 kilometres of new and improved dual carriageway road - to be constructed between Cork city and Patrickswell - will address the existing road’s safety deficiencies which contribute to a fatal collision rate four times the national average.
The preferred road-based option broadly follows the previous 2010 M20 Cork – Limerick scheme. Between 30% and 40% of the existing N20 road will be reused to develop the new dual carriageway.
Bypasses of Banogue, Charleville, Mallow, Buttevant and New Twopothouse will remove strategic traffic and heavy goods vehicles from these towns and villages, significantly improving air quality, reducing noise levels, and further supporting public realm improvements, sustainable transport and vibrant communities.
It is hoped the project, when complete, will 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 Limerick and Cork and improving journey times and reliability for local bus services along the N20 corridor.
In addition to the road element of the €1bn project, planners have 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.
The long-awaited project will deliver 80 kilometres of active travel infrastructure, connecting together the communities of Cork, Blarney, Grenagh, Rathduff, Mallow, New Twopothouse, Buttevant, Charleville, Bruree, Banogue, Croom, Patrickswell and Limerick.
Commenting on the announcement of the preferred route, 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.”
The impact of the integrated proposal will be “transformative and far reaching”, said 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 have a significant impact on economic development and on public transport efficiency and reliability. 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.
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