AN upgraded dual carriageway from Limerick to Cork will include 80 kilometres of a new road between Cork City and Patrickswell which will use between 30 and 40 per cent of the existing N20 route.
Details of the scheme, which were published earlier today, include bypasses of Mallow, New Twopothouse, Buttevant, Charleville and Banogue before joining the existing M20 motorway at Attyflin near Patrickswell.
What is described as a “multi-modal transport project” is now proposed as the preferred option which includes active travel infrastructure for walking and cycling as well as improvements to public transport.
It also envisages new and improved safe road infrastructure and environmental integration for communities along the N20 transport corridor.
Today’s announcement follows significant public consultation and detailed appraisal of a number of road-based, rail-based and active travel options.
According to a statement issued by Limerick City and County Council, 80 kilometres of new and improved dual carriageway road between Cork City and Patrickswell will address the “shocking safety deficiencies which contribute to a fatal collision rate four times the national average”.
The road design will be developed during the next phase of the project with the preferred road-based option broadly follows the M20 Cork to Limerick scheme proposed in 2010.
“The project will have a major impact on the attractiveness of public transport, achieving intercity journey time savings of up to 30 minutes for express bus services between Cork and Limerick and improving journey times and reliability for local bus services along the N20 corridor,” the council statement adds.
“The project examined a range of rail-based options and has recommended the development of a ‘no change’ additional hourly rail service via Limerick Junction, reducing intercity rail journey times by over 20 minutes.
The project will deliver 80 kilometres of walking and cycling infrastructure.
Transport Minister Eamon Ryan described the project as “an important step in progressing a range of transportation solutions connecting Limerick and Cork.
“It will incorporate public transport and active travel infrastructure for walking and cycling from its inception, as well as the upgrading of national road infrastructure which will deliver needed safety improvements for all users.
“We look forward to hearing the views of the public now and to the project being delivered.”
Minister of State, Hildegarde Naughton said that the project was critical for regional connectivity and would improve travel times and road safety on what is a well-travelled route.”
According to Limerick City and County Council chief executive Dr Pat Daly, the impact of the integrated proposal will be “transformative and far reaching”.
“The importance of this project is critical for the delivery of proper connectivity between the second and third cities in the country and along the Atlantic Economic Corridor.
“It will have a significant impact on economic development, public transport efficiency and reliability. It will reduce traffic congestion and help re-energise communities in towns and villages which will be freed from through traffic.
“It will promote active travel on a scale not previously seen and, most of all, it will improve road safety on one of Ireland’s most dangerous roads,” he added.