Motorists are facing up to 50-minute peak-time delays on an inter-city route.
And commuters have been warned the present lengthy drive between Cork and Limerick may get worse.
Many drivers are opting for a 30km detour via Mitchelstown which involves a mixture of motorway and regional routes.
Roadworks south of Mallow and in Buttevant village in Co Cork are causing the delays which are also having a knock-on effect in Charleville, where there are regular long traffic queues.
Roadworks on the main Cork-Limerick route are likely to get worse.
It emerged, this week, resurfacing works in Buttevant’s Main St may not be completed until March.
Council engineers told a divisional meeting archaeologists have made a number of important finds in the town and, if more artefacts are discovered, resurfacing works could be further delayed. A spokesman for the archaeologists said the contractor could work around them at present, but that could change if further significant artifacts are found.
Delays are also being encountered south of Mallow where the council is also resurfacing the N20.
Officials insisted the council was trying to keep delays at a minimum, but admitted traffic hold-ups could be exacerbated as as resurfacing work progresses.
Fianna Fáil councillor Kevin O’Keeffe told a meeting of the council’s Northern Division he was meeting motorists on a regular basis in Mitchelstown, in the past few weeks, who were opting to take a detour to and from Limerick as it was quicker than the N20.
“It’s chaos in Buttevant, south of Mallow and in Charleville,” he said. “People have told me it’s saving anything between 30 and 50 minutes to go via Mitchelstown.”
Mr O’Keeffe said the Government needed to publish a timeframe for critical road infrastructure projects proposed for the region, including Mallow’s northern bypass and, more importantly, the mothballed M20 motorway plan for Cork-Limerick.
His party colleague, Dan Joe Fitzgerald, also expressed concern over the delays and asked if it would be the election after next before the government would commence the Mallow bypass.
“We need clarity on the timeframe for the roads. There’s terrible confusion out there,” said another Fianna Fáil councillor, Ian Doyle.
Council officials said they were trying to encourage motorists to use diversions around Buttevant, via Doneraile. The council executive staff said they would contact Transport Infrastructure Ireland to seek start dates for the Mallow bypass and M20.
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