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SCHEME UPDATE – N/M20 Cork to Limerick Road Improvement Scheme

11th-June-2020

Phase 2 Update

Limerick City and County Council is progressing the development of the N/M20 Cork to Limerick Road Improvement Scheme in partnership with Cork County Council, Cork City Council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTaS).  

The N/M20 project team has commenced Phase 2 Option Selection studies. Following the completion of Phase 1 (Concept and Feasibility), the project team is developing road-based options broadly within the N20 corridor and rail-based options improving connectivity between Cork and Limerick. To assist with the development of options, the project team has defined a Phase 2 Study Area as outlined in Figure 1.

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Figure 1:  N/M20 Phase 2 Study Area

The Study Area is broadly in line with the study area developed as part of the previous M20 scheme with the following additional areas identified in Figure 2, included to reflect the context of the current project:

– additional area between Charleville and Limerick City to consider rail-based options and consider connectivity with proposed public transport projects;

– additional area between Blarney and Cork City to consider connectivity with proposed public transport projects; and

– additional area east of Adare to consider connectivity with the proposed Foynes to Limerick Road (including Adare Bypass).

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Figure 2:  N/M20 Phase 2 Study Area – Changes since 2008

The project team is identifying the key constraints, undertaking studies/surveys and developing options within the Study Area. The Study Area boundary is indicative, and the project team may undertake some studies/surveys beyond the Study Area boundary.

The initial road and rail-based options will be developed and comparatively assessed by the project team to identify a shortlist of options. Once the shortlisted options have been identified, the project team will hold a public consultation event seeking the views of the public and other stakeholders on the shortlisted options, which is programmed for later this year. The project team will engage directly with property owners, businesses, other stakeholders and the wider public to help inform and identify further information to assist with the subsequent identification of the preferred option.

Following the public consultation, the shortlisted options will then be subject to further development and appraisal by the project team in relation to the project objectives to identify the preferred transport option for connecting Cork and Limerick.

Public consultation forms a very important element in the appraisal of options.  The consultation will be comprehensive, with feedback and participation  welcomed and valued by the project team. Clearly, COVID-19 restrictions make public consultation challenging at this time. In the period immediately ahead, this will take place through a variety of means which will include updates to website, liaison with stakeholders including representative community and sectoral organisations as well as public representatives. The public consultation elements will be advertised in advance in local newspapers, on local radio and on the project website www.corklimerick.ie.

The Phase 2 Study Area is the current Planning Referral Area for the N/M20 project. Planning applications within the Study Area are referred by the planning departments in Limerick City and County Council, Cork County Council and Cork City Council to the N/M20 Project Team for observations. The project team carry out a risk-based assessment on the applications and provide observations to the planners for their consideration. The project team will also be available to assist potential applicants during the pre-planning consultation stage. The planning referral area will be subsequently refined and reduced at the end of each Phase of the planning and development process.

The Phase 2 Study Area and the information contained in this update are available on the N/M20 project website at www.corklimerick.ie. The N/M20 project office in Limerick is currently closed to the public and will be re-opened to the public in a phased approach in accordance with national guidelines. However, the public may submit their views, comments and queries to the project team by email (info@corklimerick.ie); by phone (061 973730) or by letter to the N/M20 Project Office, Lissanalta House, Dooradoyle, Limerick V94 H5RR.