€1bn Cork-Limerick motorway plan a step closer

PLANS for one of the country’s longest and most expensive motorways linking Cork and Limerick will be lodged with An Bord Pleanála today.

The €1 billion M20 project features:

* 80 kilometres of dual divided motorway.

* 6km of dual carriageway.

* 45km of associated national, regional and local roads

* A motorway service area at Lissard, near Rathduff.

* 46 road bridges, eight river bridges and two railway bridges.

* 33 structures for land or farm access, and 36 major culverts.

Land values along the proposed route and construction costs have not been finalised. But the M3 from Clonee, west of Dublin, to Kells, which is 20km longer and due to open in July, will cost some €1bn.

The M20 will start at the existing Blarney junction and will remain online with the existing N20 to Mourneabbey. The proposed route will then veer east from the existing N20 passing east of Mallow and Buttevant. It will rejoin the existing N20 for about 2km at Velvetstown before again veering to the east.

It will cross the N20 just south of Ballyhea, pass west of Charleville and continue west of the existing N20 until the Croom bypass.

Most of the bypass will be reutilised as part of the new development and the new scheme will terminate near the existing junction at Attyflin, Co Limerick. An oral hearing on the proposed route will be held this summer and subject to funding, construction could start before the end of 2011. The project is being coordinated by Cork County Council and Limerick County Council, with the support of the National Roads Authority.

When the corridor scheme is complete, Cork and Galway will be linked by some 200km of motorway.

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