Several householders and businesses applying for planning permission within the widened route corridor of the proposed Cork – Limerick (M20) motorway will have to wait up to seven months before they'll know if they will get the green light or not.
However, there's some good news for people living in Kanturk as work is to start shortly there on the construction of an inner relief road.
The M20 route corridor has been widened significantly, up to 10 miles across in some places, because it will have to incorporate not just the motorway but a proposed light rail connection.
Fine Gael councillor Liam Madden told a meeting of Cork County Council's Northern Division that Dairygold is planning a huge development on the west side of Mallow and expressed concern that the large study area for the bypass will hold up planning approvals for this and other developments in the North Cork area.
He said people applying for planning are being told their applications are “premature” as the exact route corridor hasn't yet been picked.
Fine Gael councillor John Paul O'Shea also expressed similar concerns.
Padraig Barrett, the county council's director of roads and transport, said it could be six to seven months before the project team is likely to have identified preferred routes.
The road is being designed by a team from Limerick City and County Council.
Divisional manager for North Cork, James Fogarty, said they will get an update on this in the next three to four months from the Limerick team to see if there is any information on what areas would fall outside the likely corridors.
Fianna Fáil councillor Bernard Moynihan was delighted to hear Mr Barrett say he expected the council will put the Kanturk inner relief road out to tender shortly and hoped to have its construction completed in the first quarter of next year.
Mr Moynihan has fought for several years for the project, pointing out that without it Kanturk could grind to a halt.
“This has huge potential. It will open up the town. The impact of that happening so quickly will be fantastic for Kanturk. It's a real win project,” Mr Moynihan said.
However, he added that he hopes all the necessary funding is in place, referring to rumours that various government departments have been ordered to trim down their budgets to help save money in light of the cost of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I hear there are red biros out in some departments for projects in rural Ireland and so we must spend the money we've got as quickly as possible,” Mr Moynihan added.