Varadkar urged to release funds for vital motorway projects

A delegation will meet Transport Minister Leo Varadkar this month to persuade him to sanction money for two bypasses and a relief road in Co Cork.

Following news that the Government will not release €800m for the planned M20 Cork-Limerick motorway, officials from Cork County Council and a number of politicians are hoping Mr Varadkar will green light works to improve safety and traffic flow in north Cork.

County engineer Noel O’Keeffe said he hopes Mr Varadkar will at least sanction sections of the proposed motorway, such as bypasses of Buttevant and Charleville, and the northern relief road for Mallow.

He said he knew that, in the current economic climate, the Government would not be able to release the €800m required for the motorway and the project was likely to be mothballed for some time.

However, he said the N20, the main Cork-Limerick road, badly needed upgrading, especially on the southern side of Buttevant, where a twisty section of road had been the site of a number of fatal accidents in recent years.

“There is also a major need for the northern relief road in Mallow which would connect the Limerick road with the roads to Fermoy and Mitchelstown,” said Mr O’Keeffe.

The meeting with Mr Varadkar will take place in Dublin on Thursday, May 24.

It was facilitated by North Cork TD Tom Barry, who said Mr Varadkar had underlined his commitment to the M20 project once funds become available.

“In the meantime, Mallow needs a ring road for a number of reasons,” said Mr Barry. “It’s an industrial manufacturing town which is going to see huge inward investment. Dairygold, the largest co-op in the country, is developing a 25-acre site in the town to expand its milk processing capacity and will be spending €130m on this project. This development will significantly increase the amount of heavy vehicles needing access to a ring road.”

He added that Mallow is suffocated as all traffic, including traffic heading west for Kerry, has to come through the centre of the town.

“This chaos is affecting business and restricting the development of what is a vibrant town,” said Mr Barry. “I will be urging the minister as a priority to fund the ring road for Mallow.”

“I will also urge that all of the work already done and money spent on planning the M20 should be brought to the An Bord Pleanála stage, because we must retain as much value as we can on that project,” he said.


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