Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has further raised expectation that the Cork to Limerick motorway could finally be given the green light after saying he “hoped” the project can be included in the Government’s mid-term review of the Capital Plan which is due in September, writes Rob McNamara.
Mr Varadkar was speaking at an event at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum in Limerick and was questioned on the subject by Mayor of Limerick city and county Stephen Keary.
He said the Cork to Limerick motorway would help rejuvenate towns such as Charleville and Buttevant but a decision has not been made and the project would take a number of years to develop.
His comments on the commuter towns in North Cork appear to quash speculation of a possible re-route for the motorway through Cahir in Tipperary to link up with the Cork-Dublin motorway which would significantly reduce the cost of the project.
Earlier this month, a joint report commissioned by the Cork and Limerick chamber estimated the economic impact of the motorway at €128m to the exchequer and 5,400 jobs for the region. The report showed that the Blarney to Mallow road was operating 3,500 vehicles over capacity per day and upgrading the N20 to a motorway could reduce travel time from Blarney to Patrickswell in Co.Limerick by almost 17 minutes and reduce accidents by approximately 118 per year.
It’s estimated that the motorway could cost as much as €900m but a public-private approach to delivering the route with tolls at various points could be an option to help with costs.
This article first appeared in the Evening Echo