View Our Interactive Map →

May 2020 Update

Phase 2

Work on the N/M20 Cork to Limerick scheme is now progressing to the examination of alternative options to determine a Preferred Option to connect the two cities.  During this Phase, the N/M20 project team is developing and appraising road-based and rail-based options, to initially identify a shortlist of options and following detailed examination and appraisal to identify a preferred option.

The work completed in Phase 1 (Concept and Feasibility), identified the preferred road-based scenario as being broadly within the N20 corridor via Charleville and Mallow. This road-based scenario performed best overall in relation to the project objectives following appraisal of seven road-based options.  (See Phase 1 Update for a more detailed explanation)

Two rail-based scenarios were identified in Phase 1, one involving improved service frequency with through services at Limerick Junction on the existing line, the other providing a new direct line between Charleville and Limerick.

In Phase 2, the project team will develop,  assess and appraise the road-based options in the broad N20 corridor and further develop and appraise the rail-based options to identify a preferred transport option to connect 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.  The Study Area is being used to develop road-based and rail-based options, which will be examined and appraised by the project team to identify a shortlist of options for further examination and assessment to identify the preferred option.

Fig 1.

Phase 2 Study Area

The Phase 2 Study Area for the appraisal of the road-based and rail-based options is outlined in Figure 1.    The Study Area boundary is indicative, and the project team may undertake some studies/surveys beyond the Study Area boundary. 

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).

Fig 2.

The project team is identifying the key constraints, undertaking studies/surveys and developing options within the Study Area.  

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.

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.

Your Views

Should you have any views or comments on our work in Phase 2, we invite you to get in touch by email, by phone, by post or in person. Please see the Contact section for our contact detail.

Planning Applications Within the Study Area

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 are 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. 

Next Steps 

The next major milestone of the N/M20 project will be the identification of the short-list of options. Public consultation on the short-listed options is programmed to be held 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 identification of the preferred option.

Public consultation forms a very important element in the appraisal of options. It will be comprehensive and feedback and participation will be 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

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. Please see the Contact section for details.