Budget 2021: Transport infrastructure improvements for Cork, Dublin

‘Vital’ Dunkettle Interchange upgrade to go ahead, Woodbrook Dart stop approved

A €215 million upgrade of the Dunkettle Interchange in Cork has been approved by Government in advance of Budget 2021 .

Dunkettle interchange is a road junction in east Cork City, forming a junction between the M8, N25 and the N40. Minister of State for Transport Hildegarde Naughton described the upgrade as "vital" for Cork city and region.

The appointment of contractor Sisk to carry out the the upgrade had been delayed for over a year as Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) was not satisfied with initial bids.

It is understood TII saved more than €40 million in putting the project out to tender for a second time. The figure of €215 million includes land costs.


The project involves putting in place an interchange just north of the Jack Lynch Tunnel to allow traffic travelling north-south on the M8 and traffic travelling east-west on the N25 move freely in either direction freely with slip roads providing links between both major arteries.

Dunkettle Interchange is the only remaining project in the National Roads Programme scheduled to go to construction this year, although the Government will today announce progress will continue on a number of schemes, funded under Budget 2021.

Work is expected to begin three more schemes in 2021. These are:

the N5 Ballaghaderreen to Scramogue in Co Roscommon
the N69 Listowel Bypass in Co Kerry
the N59 Moycullen Bypass in Co Galway

N11 pause

However doubt hangs over the progression of key projects such as the proposed M20 Cork-Limerick motorway, the Galway outer ring road and N11/M11 improvements, all of which which require ongoing planning funding in today's budget.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has already said he would pause the expansion of the N11 through the Glen of the Downs, in Co Wicklow. However M11 improvements between Oilgate, Co Wexford and Rosslare Harbour are seen as important in the light of Brexit.

Minister of State for International and Road Transport and Logistics Hildegarde Naughton is on the record of being in favour of the Galway Outer Ring Road, for which Bord Pleanála is currently holding an oral hearing.

In the area of public transport the budget is expected to provide money for progression of Dart+ West to extend the Dart to Maynooth and the M3 interchange; a new Dart station at Woodbrook, near Shankill, Co Dublin and ongoing planning works for the Dublin Metro and Fingal's Luas.

The budget is also expected to feature a strong emphasis on “smart travel” initiatives such as walking and cycling.

A full list of the status of the 40 projects in the National Roads Programme is available at tii.ie.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist