Cork-Limerick motorway could create 5,400 jobs, report says
M20 to open up economic corridor and develop three-city region in west and southwest
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, who is pondering whether or not to prioritise spending on the M20 motorway linking Cork with Limerick. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg
Building the long-sought Cork-to-Limerick motorway could create up to 5,400 jobs and contribute €128 million to State coffers, a new report says.
The M20 motorway linking the two cities is one of several projects that Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is tipped to highlight as a Government priority in an announcement on Wednesday.
A report commissioned by Cork and Limerick chambers of commerce states that the motorway could potentially support 4,000 to 5,400 new jobs, which could contribute €128 million to the exchequer.
The study, Gearing up for the M20: A Route to Success, says the road would help create a three-city region, Cork, Limerick and Galway, realising the potential of an economic corridor in the west and southwest.
It would also help open up the southwest, as key routes in that region will intersect with the motorway, which will run from Blarney just outside Cork to Patrickswell on the fringe of Limerick.
Report authors Indecon International Economic Consultants and Red-C Research & Marketing said that traffic had grown to the point where there were too many vehicles using stretches of the existing road, the N20.
Their figures show that an average of 16,361 vehicles travel between Blarney and Mallow every day, 3,500 more than than that section’s capacity, while 14,047 drive between Croom and Patrickswell, 2,447 more than what the stretch can carry.
The M20 would cut the journey time from Blarney to Patrickswell by 16 minutes to 47 minutes and prevent about 118 accidents every year, the economists say.
Groups from both cities have lobbied several governments to build the road, but the estimated €850 million construction bill led successive administrations to shelve the project.
Conor Healy, chief executive of the Cork chamber, said the Government could no longer ignore the need for the motorway.
“It is in the national interest that our regional economies expand for Ireland to remain competitive and to complement growth in Dublin,” he said.
Mr Healy added that the M20 should be first on the list of projects to go ahead if the Government boosts infrastructure spending next year.
James Ring, Limerick chamber chief executive, described the M20 as the most significant piece of infrastructure yet to be built in the region.
“Current severe capacity constraints on the N20 are restricting growth potential in our second and third cities, and limit access to business and communities across Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Cork and up into Galway,” he said.