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17 May 2022

WATCH: Business groups welcome announcement of preferred route for Limerick-Cork road project

BUSINESS groups have welcomed the the announcement of the preferred route for the N/M20 Limerick to Cork road project.

While construction is unlikely to begin until 2027 at the earliest, today's announcement is seen as a major milestone for the project which will see the construction 80km of high-quality dual carriageway between Blarney, outside Cork city and Patrickswell.

In addition to the upgraded road, 80km of active travel infrastructure will also be included in the project, which will cost in the region of €1bn.

Towns and villages such as Banogue, Charleville, Buttevant, Ballyhea, Newtwopothouse and Mallow will all be bypassed and the project team has also recommended the development of an hourly 'no-change' rail service between Limerick and Cork via Limerick Junction.

At a media briefing, project coordinator, Jari Howard said around 750 property owners will be impacted and that it will be around two years before a formal planning application is lodged with An Bord Pleanála - subject to government approval.

Limerick Chamber and Cork Chamber have both welcomed today's announcement.

“After over a decade highlighting the economic importance of this major project linking two of Ireland’s most progressive city regions, it is positive to see this progress and it represents another step towards the delivery of this project," said Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber (pictured below).

"Upon completion of the project, we can expect to witness greater connectivity between Cork, Limerick and Galway, an indispensable element to improving the region’s economic attractiveness to investment. It is vital to the success of
the project that strategically placed ‘Park and Ride’ services and mobility hubs remain high on the agenda as the project progresses," he added.

Dee Ryan, CEO of Limerick Chamber (also pictured above), commented: “Connectivity is a cornerstone for business development and economic growth, and to that end Limerick and Cork Chambers have long advocated for improvements in journey times and
accessibility between our two cities. Once delivered, this safer, faster and more direct solution to connect Ireland’s second and third largest cities will effectively open up the west of Ireland by improving journey times all the way up to Galway.“

Separately, Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, has welcomed the preferred transport option announced today.

“It is vital that the road upgrade scheme progresses through the design stage and moves forward to planning with urgency. The existing N20 route faces ongoing congestion issues and capacity constraints, particularly at peak periods. Capacity improvements will see benefits for passenger and freight traffic using the route, through increased journey time savings, more reliable and frequent journeys and traffic relief to towns and villages. It will also deliver much needed safety improvements for all users," said Helen Leahy, Ibec's Head of Regional Policy.

"The recommendation for an enhanced rail service via Limerick Junction complements the road upgrade. It makes economic sense given that the other, more costly rail options that were considered would offset bus rather than car travel between Cork and Limerick cities," she added.

A number of information webinars will be held over the coming weeks.

For further information visit corklimerick.ie or contact the project office by email (info@corklimerick.ie) or phone (061) 973730.

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