The M20 motorway between Limerick and Cork is one of a range of transport projects that the Government is committed to and will benefit the west coast of the country, Fine Gael TD and Chair of the Oireachtas Transport and Communications committee Kieran O’Donnell has said.
Deputy O’Donnell, a Limerick City TD, has been heavily involved in driving this project connecting the country’s two biggest regional cities, which in turn, will link the western seaboard as a viable counterbalance to Dublin and the eastern commuter belt.
Today’s National Development Plan (NDP) published by Government lists the new road route between Limerick and Cork – a project which was enabled in Project Ireland 2040 by Fine Gael three years ago.
“In short, this is the biggest investment in transport in the history of the State with €35bn to be allocated over a decade for new public transport, new roads, new active travel projects and continued investment in international connectivity via our ports and airports,” Deputy O’Donnell said.
“There are several road projects in the NDP and central and at the crux of this is the M20 between Limerick and Cork.
“I have campaigned strongly over the years for the M20 because I believe connecting Ireland’s second and third largest cities by motorway will bring vital synergies for both Limerick and Cork and indeed Ireland. The project is currently at route selection phase with TII and I welcome that this process will continue under this updated NDP.
“For too long, the Mid-West and southern region have required a proper roadwork connecting them. Emerging from a worldwide recession a decade ago prevented this. Fine Gael is committed to ensuring this will happen and become a reality.
“Such a project takes time, planning and money but it is time for the two biggest cities and population centres in Munster to be connected.
“The outgoing NDP estimated the cost of this project at up to €900m. The current speculation around a €3bn cost needs to be fully explained. It my understanding that capital projects are categorised according to estimated cost ranges of under €1bn and from €1bn to €3bn.
“We should await the outcome of the TII current route selection process to provide an accurate reflection of costs involved here,” the Fine Gael TD said.
“A proper route between these two cities and counties will improve the lot for all wishing to live and work within the vicinity.
“Safety will be improved and commuting times will drop dramatically and traffic delays, which are a regular feature in the border town of Charleville as well as nearby Buttevant and other areas along the route, will be consigned to the past making these towns and villages far more accessible and enjoyable places to live and work.”
Of the total €35bn spend, more than €11bn will be spent on public transport. The 2:1 spending ratio agreed in the Programme for Government is protected.
“The plan will help deliver our climate targets by increasing the number of trips made by active travel and public transport by 500,000 by 2030,” Deputy O’Donnell said.