From: Kieran O’Donnell TD
Limerick City & Chair of the Oireachtas Transport and Communications committee
Limerick to Cork M20 Project takes another major step forward with preferred routes selected – O’Donnell
- Road Route similar to route selected in 2010
- Rail route selected is the addition of a second rail track between Limerick City and Limerick Junction
- TII will now consult in detail with affected landowners, farmers and residents along the selected route
- Target 2 year timeframe to lodge planning application to an Board Pleanala
*Full TII Brochure & Route Details: TII M20 Preferred Route
The M20 project between Limerick and Cork took another major step forward with today’s announcement by TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) of the preferred routes for the new road and rail routes between They will now consult in detail with affected landowners, farmers and residents along the selected route They will now consult in detail with affected landowners, farmers and residents along the selected route Limerick and Cork, Fine Gael TD and Chair of the Oireachtas Transport and Communications committee Kieran O’Donnell has said. TII will now proceed to the next phase of the project involving route design and environmental studies, including considering motorway and highest level dual-carriageway options or combinations of both.
Deputy O’Donnell, a Limerick City TD, has been heavily involved in driving this project connecting the country’s two biggest regional cities, which in turn, will link the western seaboard as a viable counterbalance to Dublin and the eastern commuter belt. In November 2016, Deputy O’Donnell succeeded in getting then Transport Minister Shane Ross to agree to and commit €1 million in funding to TII (formerly the NRA) to reactivate the planning process on the M20 project. The M20 motorway project was subsequently included in the 2018 National Development Plan and Project 2040 under Fine Gael, and continued in the renewed National Development Plan in 2021.
“Today’s announcement by TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) of the preferred routes for the new road and rail routes between Limerick and Cork is another significant step closer to progressing the project to being built. TII advise me that the new road route is similar to the previous preferred route selected in 2010, with the rail option selected being an upgrade of the existing Limerick Junction to Limerick City rail line.
“If we are to be truly serious about balanced regional development, the M20 project is a key missing link here.
“TII will now proceed to route design and environmental studies phase, including considering motorway and highest level dual-carriageway options or combinations of both, with the target of proceeding to lodge an application to an board Pleanala in approximately two years. They will now consult in detail with affected landowners, farmers and residents along the selected route which is critical as it greatly impact on their lives.
“I fully accept that highest level dual-carriageways bring obvious benefits in terms of travel safety and times. However, I continue to hold the view that we should ideally be looking to progress with the full motorway option as this will bring further enhanced synergies between the two cities and indeed to the entire Atlantic economic corridor.
“Furthermore, by-passing the towns and settlements along the road route is an integral part of linking the two main cities outside of Dublin, affording better and express public transport services on the route as well as the provision of active travel amenities alongside the route, including walking and cycling facilities.
“The preferred rail route option involving the upgrade of the existing Limerick City to Limerick Junction rail line over new rail routes is something I very much welcome. This option selection by TII is both sensible and practical, involving the laying of a second track alongside the existing single track on lands already in the ownership of Irish rail. Once built, Irish rail plan to operate an hourly direct train service between Limerick City and Cork City, with a time saving of up to 20 minutes on the existing journey duration.
“I have campaigned strongly over the years for the M20 project because I believe enhancing the connectivity between Ireland’s second and third largest cities will bring vital synergies for both Limerick and Cork and indeed Ireland.
“In late 2020, I held an online public Zoom meeting on the proposed M20 routes with over 200 people in attendance, highlighting interest in this project, but, also the serious concerns of landowners, farmers, households and towns located along the proposed routes.
“A proper route between these two cities and counties will improve the lot for all wishing to live and work within the vicinity.
“With 62 fatalities having occurring along the current Limerick-Cork N20 route in the last 25 years, 4 times above the national average, and 42% of the existing N20 containing no hard shoulder clearly shows the imperative of the M20 project progressing on safety grounds alone.
“Safety will be improved and commuting times will drop dramatically and traffic delays, which are a regular feature in the border town of Charleville as well as nearby Buttevant and other areas along the route, will be consigned to the past making these towns and villages far more accessible and enjoyable places to live. work and visit.”
“For too long, the Mid-West and southern region have required a proper roadwork connecting them. Emerging from a worldwide recession a decade ago prevented this. Fine Gael is committed to ensuring this M20 project will happen and become a reality.
“TII have developed public display platform on the project website www.corklimerick.ie outlining the preferred route with detailed maps and information which will go live from today, Wednesday 30th of March 2022 at 12pm. A public display will also be available for viewing in the N/M20 Project Office in Lissanalta House, Dooradoyle, Limerick and a number of Council public offices and public libraries between Cork and Limerick.
“Furthermore, property owners along the preferred option will be notified by post and invited to consult with the project team, either in person in Limerick or Mallow, or by online or telephone meetings during the next phase of the project. If you have any queries, please contact the project office on (061) 973730 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deputy O’Donnell concluded: “Such a major road infrastructure project takes time, planning and money but it is time for the two biggest cities and population centres in Munster to be connected. I will continue to work with TII to progressing this M20 project to ensure it is built as quickly as possible.