19 February 2020
By Mary Bermingham
The Cork to Limerick scheme will be developed within the broad N20 corridor via Charleville and Mallow. Elected Representatives from the region were informed of this decision and updated on progress on the Cork to Limerick scheme at a briefing held today (February 19th) in Charleville.
Improved accessibility between urban centres of population and their regions is identified as a major enabler for balanced regional development in the National Planning Framework and is a key element in the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 Strategy.
The M20 Cork to Limerick Motorway Scheme had previously progressed through planning and design phases and the scheme was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in 2010 for statutory planning approval. Prior to a determination being made by An Bord Pleanála, the project was withdrawn in 2011, due to the economic downturn.
In the intervening period, there have been significant changes at European and National policy level affecting the criteria which must now be applied in assessments of major infrastructural projects. These include changes to environmental legislation, design standards and appraisal requirements for the Government’s Public Spending Code.
The N/M20 project team has now almost a year of work completed based on the Public Spending Code requirements, which requires consideration of all potential options including bus and rail public transport alternatives.
The work to date leads to the conclusion that the broad N20 corridor via Charleville and Mallow performs best overall in relation to the project objectives and is the preferred road-based scenario which:
- provides the highest journey time savings between Cork and Limerick;
- has the potential to save the greatest number of road-based collisions, accidents and fatalities, across the network;
- public transport service times and reliability would improve and there would be an opportunity to use the new route for express inter-city bus services;
- has the greatest transfer of traffic from the existing road network onto the new scenario
- provides the highest level of traffic relief to towns and villages;
- provides a step change in connectivity between Cork and Limerick, as well as improving connectivity for the regional towns along the corridor;
- provides the opportunity to grow the Atlantic Economic Corridor by improving connections to west Cork and Kerry;
- provides good opportunities for connection to existing and proposed public transport interchanges; and
- enables opportunities for walking and cycling activity in towns and villages due to reduced traffic levels.
The work completed to date will be carried forward in terms of identifying the preferred option that will address /satisfy the project objectives. The road and public transport options will be appraised in relation to the project objectives to identify the preferred transport option for connecting Cork and Limerick.
Public consultation will take place in the latter part of this year, with the preferred option within the broad N20 corridor identified soon after. The Public Spending Code requires that the scheme develop a business case, which needs Government approval before it can be published and submitted to An Bord Pleanála. Work on this will continue for the coming years as the scheme proposal develops.
Full details of the project objectives, the appraisal process, evaluation of scenarios to date and next steps are available on www.corklimerick.ie.
The public may submit their views, comments and queries to the project team during the project. This engagement can be via the project website (www.corklimerick.ie); by email (firstname.lastname@example.org); by phone (061 973730); by letter or in person to the N/M20 Project Office, Lissanalta House, Dooradoyle, Limerick V94 H5RR.
Limerick City and County Council is developing the N/M20 Cork to Limerick Road Improvement Scheme in partnership with Cork County Council, Cork City Council, Tipperary County Council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTaS). Limerick City and County Council, as lead authority, have appointed Barry Transportation and its project partners Sweco and WSP (BSW) as Technical Advisors to progress the planning and design for the scheme.