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June 2024 Update

N/M20 Cork to Limerick – Public Update June 2024 

Figure 0.1: N/M20 Cork to Limerick – Our Transport Solution 

Welcome to the penultimate public information update on the N/M20 Cork to Limerick Project. 

At the outset, the Project Team would like to thank all stakeholders along and outside the study area for their co-operation to date. The team put a premium on public engagement and in the course of the various design iterations approximately 1,000 meetings, both face to face and online, have been held to provide information and seek to achieve feedback on various aspects of the project design as it unfolded. This has helped to optimise design outcomes and to mitigate individual, community and environmental impacts arising from the project. 

The approach to the design of the N/M20 project is unique in Irish terms. It will not only address the major safety deficits which make the N20 Cork to Limerick road the most dangerous in the country but will introduce a suite of sustainable transport options which combined will make the project highly innovative. 

The provision of the new M20 motorway will result in a transfer of strategic traffic from the existing N20, thereby relieving the towns and communities that currently experience severe congestion. This reduction in traffic will bring with it a marked improvement in air quality, a reduction in noise and improved safety. This will offer an opportunity to reallocate road space for other uses such as Active Travel or community spaces improving the quality and liveability for everyone on or close to the existing N20.

The Project Team will present their final design drawings in Q4 2024, thus enabling the formal statutory and planning approval process to commence.

A number of key decisions/project milestones have been advanced since the last update in November 2023:

  • A motorway road type has been selected, following detailed consideration of all alternatives. An M20 motorway will best address the significant safety issues on the current N20 Cork to Limerick road saving over 1,300 collisions during a 30 year period, reduce journey times and encourage the use of efficient public transport options that will become possible.
  • Design development of the largest single active travel project undertaken in the State to date is now taking place. Up to 100km of safe, shared active travel will connect communities from Blarney to Patrickswell and provide walking and cycling access to communities.
  • The location of six Transport Hubs has been identified for Rathduff, Mourneabbey, Buttevant, Charleville, Bruree and Croom. These hubs will provide active travel and public transport connectivity, “Park and Share” options and EV charging points. A Freight Hub is also proposed to be located adjacent to the M20 / N72 / N73 Mallow junction.
  • The Project Team has recommended multi-point, barrier free tolling on the new motorway which will base road toll charges on distance travelled. This recommendation will encourage greater use of sustainable travel options, such as active travel, park and ride (public transport), and park and share which are embedded in the design. These measures will help support the Government’s Climate Action Plan in reducing transport emissions.

1.1 Road Type

As the Project Team progresses through this current design stage the “road type” for the N/M20 has been determined.    

A comparative analysis considered four different forms of divided carriageway (all options having a central median and associated safety barriers) and confirmed that the “Motorway” road type is the clear preference in terms of best achieving policy and project objectives.

Motorway provision, with its access restrictions, has proven to be the safest form of road type linking our cities, saving over 1,300 collisions during a 30 year period.

When opened, typical travel times between Blarney, Cork and Patrickswell, Limerick will improve from what is currently 60 -90 minutes to a more reliable and quicker journey time:

  • around 40 minutes for cars and light goods vehicles (with the posted speed limit being 120 km/h);
  • around 50 minutes for heavy goods vehicles (speed limit 90 km/h); and
  • around 45 minutes for coaches (speed limit 100 km/h).

1.2 Developing Design

The Interactive mapping, available on the project website,, has been updated. It now presents the Engineering Plan of the Developing Design within the refined November 2023 corridor, including:

  • Mainline, Junctions & Side Roads
  • Indicative Earthwork Slopes
  • Active Travel Location / Extents
  • Hub Locations
  • Indicative Drainage Attenuation Pond Location

Lissard north of Rathduff

Figure 0.2: Sample mapping location – Lissard north of Rathduff

1.3 Demand Management

“Demand management” is a key component of future transport policies as a means of influencing travel behavior and working towards achieving climate emergency targets.   The new N/M20 will incorporate demand management measures to encourage the use of the sustainable transport elements of our project, i.e. active travel facilities and transport hubs that incorporate EV charging facilities. 

A user charging system, whereby drivers pay on the basis of distance travelled on the M20, will be set up using “barrier free distance based toll” technology, similar to that currently in place on the M50 around Dublin.  There will be monitoring points along the route in each direction, as illustrated below.   This multi-point system, rather than having one or two toll plazas, minimises the potential for toll-avoidance activity, since the charges per section are relatively modest.  Note the toll values will be determined by Transport Infrastructure Ireland as part of their future toll order. 

1.4 Active Travel

The project will deliver the single largest active travel facility in the State to date with approximately 100 kilometres of transformative ‘shared use active travel facility (a cycle track or cycleway that is provided for people walking, wheeling and cycling)’, connecting the communities of Blarney, Rathduff, Mallow, New Twopothouse, Buttevant, Ballyhea, Charleville, Bruree, Banogue, Croom and Patrickswell. The project focus is on enhancing connectivity to local communities that are adjacent to the corridor.

Since the last public update the active travel routes have been further refined to now show positioning with respect to the adjacent road. Also, the initially proposed active travel section between New Twopothouse and the M20 at Caherduggan has been removed from the proposals due to significant potential impact on protected cultural heritage sites, environmental impacts and land constraints.

The active travel connection between the existing N20 in the Mallow area and the M20 will be facilitated by the new active travel route proposed as part of the Mallow Relief Road. With traffic transferring onto the new M20 route there will be less traffic in the communities along the existing N20 making walking and cycling a safer and more enjoyable experience. The reduction in traffic volumes and speed on the existing N20 will also provide opportunities for improvements to the public realm within these communities.

Between communities new shared use active travel facilities will be provided. The typical width of the surfaced pathway will generally be 3 metres but may need to be less at localised pinch points. The facility will typically fall into one of three concepts as described below and depicted in the graphics:

  • Concept A – Located at the edge of the new M20 transport corridor but typically remote from live traffic on the M20 mainline and separated by earthworks, fencing and landscaping. 

Figure 0.3: Active Travel Concept A

  • Concept B – Re-allocating existing road space on wider sections of the existing N20 carriageway once it is de-classified, where traffic levels will be significantly reduced, speed limits reduced and hard shoulders will no longer be required.

Figure 0.4: Active Travel Concept B

  • Concept C – Active travel facilities along existing roads (generally regional and local roads).  These roads are typically narrower than the existing N20 with sections of dense vegetation and residential boundaries close to the road edge. 


Figure 0.5: Active Travel Concept C

These three concepts represent the typical road-adjacent active travel facility in most instances. There are also cases of active travel routes that are not alongside a road.

There is likely to be approximately:

  • 62km of Concept A 
  • 30km of Concept B
  • 5km of Concept C

A high-level summary of the shared use active travel facility proposals is presented in the Developing Active Travel Proposal Overview drawing. For this update, the Active Travel design has been further developed with a greater level of location detail now also provided in the Developing Active Travel Proposals drawings.

Walkers, cyclists and other mobility users on these new facilities will be a mix of commuter / utility trip-makers, tourists and leisure users who may choose to use the shared use active travel facility as part of a circular route. 

Separately, Transport Infrastructure Ireland along with the relevant local authorities are progressing the planning and design of a number of Greenway Projects in the region. The N/M20 Cork to Limerick project will continue to coordinate with these Greenway Projects in relation to the development of the N/M20 active travel facilities to ensure an integrated network. 


1.5 Transport Hubs

As part of the November 2023 update, the N/M20 Project team introduced the concept of “Transport Hubs” based upon transport integration, environment and safety and a user-focused, holistic, sustainable approach to ensure they form an integrated part of our transport solution. The four guiding principles are: 

Figure 0.6: Transport Hubs Concept

Since then, the proposed network of Transport Hubs has developed guided by our principles, a sustainable transport hierarchy and a demand analysis assessment ensuring that hubs are suitably located and appropriately sized to accommodate the existing and potential demands for services.

The operation and size of our hubs will vary by location but aligns with “Our Transport Solution”, the holistic, multi-modal proposal outlined at the end of Phase 2, offering connectivity with active travel infrastructure and public transport, including Park & Share / Park & Ride, and sustainable infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging.

Overall, six Transport Hubs are proposed, located, from south to north, at:

  • Rathduff
  • Mourneabbey
  • Buttevant
  • Charleville
  • Bruree
  • Croom

fig 0.7 transport hubs purposeFigure 0.7: N/M20 Transport Hubs Purpose

Figure 0.8 example

Figure 0.8: Example of Transport Hub

In addition to the six Transport Hubs, a Freight Hub is also proposed to be located adjacent to the M20 / N72 / N73 Mallow junction. This freight hub will provide facilities for parking, welfare and EV charging for heavy good vehicles, as well as fulfilling the requirements of the European Union’s Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and the Department of Transport’s National Road Network En-Route EV Charging Plan 2024 – 2030 polices.  A small amount of vehicle parking will also be provided for active travel and park and share.


example of freight hub

Figure 0.9: Example of Freight Hub

1.6 Environment

Since the November 2023 public update, the environmental team continues to undertake a multifaceted range of activities which encompass field surveys and interactions with the design team. This ensures that environmental considerations remain at the forefront of the decision-making process. 

Landowners continue to provide ongoing access to lands for our environmental walkover surveys (ecological and archaeological), for monitoring purposes (air, noise and water quality), for site investigation (resistivity, magnetometry exploratory boreholes, trial pits, watercourses and topographical surveys) and our archaeological test trenching. This fieldwork will be ongoing throughout the duration of Phase 3 to ensure the environmental teams have robust data to develop our environmental mitigation measures. 

The Project Team continue to monitor changes in the legislative requirements, environmental assessment processes and guidance including, but not limited to, our understanding of climate change (in particular its adaptative and mitigatory needs) and the necessity for protection of biodiversity. 

carbon tool

Figure 0.10: TII Carbon Tool & Road Emission Model Logos

The Environmental Impact Assessment Report, which will provide details of the findings from these surveys and assessments, will be published and submitted to An Bord Pleanála at the end of the design and approval process. 

1.7 Next Steps

The project team will continue to develop and refine the design of the mainline, junctions, transport hubs, active travel infrastructure, side roads, drainage, landscaping, environmental mitigation measures and the associated ancillary works. We will continue to engage with all affected landowners throughout this process to ensure they remain informed and will endeavour to minimise the potential impact the project may have on them. 

We will continue to undertake engineering and environmental surveys, develop the design and evaluation of the project and look to provide a final project update at the end of this year in advance of a planning submission in 2025. As part of the process, we welcome all feedback from property owners, communities, businesses and other stakeholders.

At the end of our Phase 3 work we will be submitting the project’s Business Case to the Department of Transport for Approval and once achieved the Environmental Impact Assessment Report, accompanied by the Compulsory Purchase Order and the Road Orders will be submitted An Bord Pleanála to commence the Statutory Procedures Phase of the project.

The project team greatly appreciate the facilitation of our ongoing work by landowners and the public and are grateful for their cooperation with the project. This project update and details of the developing elements can be found on our project website The project office can be contacted on 061 973730 or for further queries or to arrange a meeting with the project liaison team.


N/M20 A1 Map

N/M20 Developing Design – Road Drawings

N/M20 Developing Design – Active Travel Drawings

N/M20 Feedback Form

N/M20 Presentation to Elected Representatives       

N/M20 Video