A €15m contract has been awarded for the design stage of the 100km Cork-Limerick motorway. However, it is unlikely that the planned €900m M20 will be completed before 2027.
Limerick City and County Council, the lead local authority for the project, has appointed JB Barry Transportation and its project partners, WSP and Sweco, as technical advisers. An original design was approved by An Bord Pleanála but planning lapsed following the Government’s decision to mothball the project after the 2008 financial crisis.
It may take at least two years before a new design is completed and planning approval secured. Following any tendering process, it could be a further two years before construction is underway, possibly in 2023. The National Development Plan envisages the motorway will be completed in 2027.
The Limerick local authority, in partnership with Cork County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), is developing the proposed motorway, aimed at reducing journey times between the two cities by bypassing towns such as Charleville and Buttevant. A TII spokesman said “economic interaction and inter-relationships between the cities were limited, with poor transport connectivity being a factor”.
The technical advisers will be based at an M20 project office adjoining the Mid-West National Road Design Office in Dooradoyle, Limerick. County councillors in Cork, backed by County Hall engineers, have long argued that the delay in providing a motorway is having a major impact on traffic volumes through Mallow town centre. In advance of a motorway being completed, they are seeking a northern relief road around Mallow.