Work will begin on the long-awaited M20 Cork to Limerick motorway this year, despite Cork’s national roads funding being slashed.
The Department of Transport confirmed yesterday that €9m has been allocated for the first phase of the M20, between Blarney and Croom, Co Limerick.
There had been speculation in 2009 that the M20 project would be postponed indefinitely because of a lack of funding for road works.
However, of the seven national roads projects moving forward to the Compulsory Purchase Order stage in 2010, two of these are in Cork — the M20 Cork to Limerick and N25 Carrigtwohill to Midleton.
County manager, Martin Riordan, welcomed the allocation of finances towards the M20 and N25, but admitted he was disappointed with the level of maintenance funding, down almost €1m on the 2009 allocation.
Cork County Council will also have an increase in funding for bridge management and rehabilitation on national Primary roads of more than €1m.
Cork city and county were granted a combined total of €3,058,300 for national road maintenance in 2010 announced by Transport Minister Noel Dempsey, compared to a total of €6,198,429 for 2009 (€3,505,429 for the county; €2,693,000) in 2009.
Cork County Council has been allocated a total of €36,314,420 (down from an allocation of €66m last year) as part of the €1.115bn for improvement works and road maintenance under the programme this year, while Cork City Council has been allocated just €751,800 in total.
Fine Gael Deputy Bernard Allen said: “The truth is that this allocation is derisory and totally inadequate to meet the current unprecedented demands being placed on local authorities to maintain a safe and efficient road network.
Minister for Trade and Commerce, Billy Kelleher welcomed progress on the M20 Cork to Limerick motorway, saying it was vital to the future economic development of the Cork region.
The 82km motorway will link Blarney to Croom, Co Limerick.
Minister Kelleher said: “This motorway is critically important to the development of Cork as a region in terms of improving accessibility, connecting us up to other primary population and economic centres and creating a strong regional balance.”