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M20 - Cork to Limerick [preferred route chosen; in design - phase 3]



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,409 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21

    The upper limit for a 2+2 expressway is 20k AADT. So pre Covid, the traffic volumes on the M7 weren't that low for a road of its type.

    The 2021 version of a motorway in Ireland isn't as highly engineered as popular belief would have you believe. The road type for the M20 will be a Type 1 DC, which starts straining around 38k AADT. It has narrow hard shoulders, narrow lanes, narrow central medians and generally low throughput junctions. It's a dual carriageway with blue signs and legal restrictions when you put it into perspective vs the original motorways in Ireland (which are much much higher spec: M50, M1 to Dundalk, M4 to Kinnegad, M7 to Portlaoise, and sporadic stretches of the M11, M20 and a few others)

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,404 ✭✭✭prunudo

    Build it to motorway standards and keep the tractors off the main interurban routes. Why are we always looking to skimp on infrastructure here, where's the harm in over engineering vital projects.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Might as well close this thread down lads. This road will never be built. We're going to have to stick with our glorified boreen forever..

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 12,074 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cookiemunster

    Yeah, you've taken my post out of context to the one I was replying to. I'm aware of the standards and I've no problem with the fact that the M7 was built as it was, nor will I have an issue if Cork to Limerick is a full motorway. However I'd gladly take a grade seperated 2+2 between Charleville and Mallow if it got the project through planning successfully / more quickly. AADT was barely over 10k on this section pre Covid.

  • Registered Users Posts: 825 ✭✭✭pajoguy

    It was due to the high number of HGVs on the road. I meant I spent most of the journey moving in to the overtaking lane and would have been it for long distances of 2-3km at times. I just found it busier than I thought. Certainly no tumbleweed.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 825 ✭✭✭pajoguy

    I understand there are lower specs of dual carriageways but the way some are talking today the only way any improvement will happen on this is town bypasses and maybe a few local safety improvements.

    Some are saying motorway standard would not be needed for certain sections and from listening to sections of the medias coverage today I would nearly take 2+2 most of the way from Attyflin to Blarney at this rate

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,553 ✭✭✭AugustusMinimus

    Press releases seem to be calling it the M20. Would be utter insanity to build a 15 mile stretch as 2+2.

  • Registered Users Posts: 825 ✭✭✭pajoguy

    It would be insanity. The greens better be out of power when this get to detailed design.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,873 ✭✭✭Pete_Cavan

    The standard any particular section of road is built to should be based on the usage on that section. The middle section of the N20 doesn't justify motorway so people shouldn't be surprised if it is not proposed as such. Just because someone wants to see motorway and somebody else agrees with them, doesn't mean that is what should happen. This thread is an awful echo chamber.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,586 ✭✭✭KrisW1001

    I really think people just want to see blue lines on a map.

    The problem with being rational about M20 is that N18/N17 was upgraded to motorway despite having much lower traffic.

    The section north of Mallow, south of Croom is not busy enough to justify Type 1 DC and is unlikely ever to be; a Type 2 would be more than adequate here, but there’s also an argument for keeping a consistent standard of road throughout.

    A single-carriageway road, of any type, would be unacceptable.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 574 ✭✭✭Aontachtoir

    Blue is my favourite colour. ;)

    More seriously, if the underlying purpose of this road is to encourage more links between Cork and Limerick and help the Cork-Limerick-Galway axis to develop as a single economic unit that can counterbalance Dublin, doesn't it make sense to maintain the same cross-section? Narrowing the M20 here and there would make it the only major new-build interurban in the state to not maintain a motorway/HQDC cross-section for the vast majority of its route.

    Cork and Limerick are both expected to significantly increase in population and economic size, so presumably traffic along this route will increase significantly in years to come. Any future upgrades will be far more expensive and inconvenient than just delivering up-front. Deliberately rejecting the opportunity to deliver future-proofed infrastructure for electric zero-carbon buses, trucks, and other vehicles seems short-sighted, at best.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,464 ✭✭✭cjpm

    Appallingly short sighted. Now is the time to do it right

  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,409 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21


     The N20 road corridor options are currently being progressed with Public Transport (Rail) alternatives as comparators. The scheme is currently at Route Options Selection stage where all the road and rail options will be considered, with the preferred transport corridor expected to be announced by the end of 2021. Subsequent to this, work on scheme design and environmental evaluation will be undertaken, in addition to the scheme Business Case, which is required under the Public Spending Code (PSC). The scheme Business Case is expected to be submitted to DPER in early 2023. Subject to its approval, the submission of the statutory documents for the project to An Bord Pleanála (ABP) will follow thereafter.

  • Registered Users Posts: 462 ✭✭Limerick74

    That’s not the latest as the announcement of the preferred option is now Q1 2022.

  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,409 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21

    Thanks for the correction, my post is from the NDP accompanying documents which could have been updated less recently.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    The section south of croom and north of mallow? It's a horrible section of road with constant jams in charleville and buttevant. Not to mention the farmers crossing the road with their cattle..

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,873 ✭✭✭Pete_Cavan

    Nothing you have said there changes the fact that the middle section of N20 is well within the range for Type 2 DC and will remain so for a very long time. The difference in a few minutes journey time is not going to make any difference in acting as a counterbalance to Dublin. Type 2 is just as future-proofed for electric zero-carbon buses and trucks as Type 1, nice shoehorning in of buzzwords though.

  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,409 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21

    Not sure that's entirely correct. Quite a few people I know do everything in their power to avoid the N20 north of Mallow when going to Limerick. They use either the M8 if going from Cork City/West Cork or the N21 if going from North Cork. A lot of traffic will flock from the alternative corridors to the M20 when its built, and it will affect traffic patterns in the area when this happens. Building a 2+2 north of Mallow would be folly especially given the volume of HGVs using the route. There is quite a bit of industry along the route (Dairygold, Dawn Meats, Lidl, Kostal, Kerry Foods) or near the route (Munster Joinery, Cadburys, Kerry (Newmarket)) and probably others I've forgotten. That's also not including the 2 busy ports at either end of the route, both of which are undergoing expansion, along with 2 international airports with cargo operations.

  • Registered Users Posts: 313 ✭✭Grassy Knoll

    The motorway to Waterford is probably over engineered, but the Cork Limerick corridor is likely to be busier and provide an alternative growth pole to Dublin. Build it once and do it right from day one I say. It would be more in Ryan’s line to sort Dublin out (where I live) when people fully return to work we are back to chaos again .. no bus corridors, Metro ??, cycle lanes are poor enough, albeit a bit better than pre COVID, no park and ride etc …..

    a bit of green wash around Cork where the public transport seems to be getting a shot in the arm

    to be fair the national motorways are probably the one engineering project you can say was done well.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,873 ✭✭✭Pete_Cavan

    But on the other side there is plenty of short journey local traffic on the existing N20 which will stay there, not transferring to the new road.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 130 ✭✭tharlear

    No let's not learn from our mistakes and do an m50 on it. Build it single carriageway with roundabouts, then when it can't handle the traffic update it to type 1, then update date it in 20 years to type 2.

    Whatever you says about the M17/M18 and M11, M6 after Kinnegad and other so called "overbuilt section of HQDC", they at least have some future proofing. This is a wise investment in the future. We have one chance to do the M20 (N20) right, so HQDC type 2 with a land take where necessary to allow for future upgrades.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,621 ✭✭✭✭markodaly

    I notice in the press that all of a sudden this project has jumped from 1 Billion euro to 3 Billion euro, with no explanation as to the why?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,547 ✭✭✭Hibernicis

    A clever ploy by Ryan showing that the muppet learned something from his Party’s first disastrous period in Government 15 years ago. He spouted this €3bn figure a few months back with no backup. If the budget for roads for the entire state for the next six years is €6bn, then alleging that one project that apparantly benefits just two counties with a €3bn price tag (i.e. 50% of the budget) gets the hackles up in the other 24 counties. And sows more dissent. And creates more confusion. And allows more time for cycling bikes, playing stationmaster and sowing sorrel, purslane and other salad leaves of choice in your window boxes during a pandemic. 

    I was accused earlier in this thread of giving too much credit to the power of the Greens. That intended insult was inappropriate as I hadn’t given any credit to the Greens. I had simply pointed out that they were stirring the pot and causing dissent. However having seen today’s outcome I am developing a sneaking regard for Ryan who appears to be transforming from a total fool to a successful manipulative political operator. On the initial reading it looks like he has more than outfoxed his FF and FG partners.  

  • Registered Users Posts: 248 ✭✭Iecrawfc

    Well there's nimbyism and there are legitimate concerns from farmers that their livelihoods will be destroyed. If you work a farm of 100 acres, how are you going to handle it being split in 2 or worse left with a small holding on another side thats not big enough to do anything meaningful with.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,547 ✭✭✭Hibernicis

    This is a very important point and is often lost when the AADT numbers are quoted. I travel Limerick/Cork frequently (twice/trice weekly). I almost always use the M8/R513 or M8/R513/R514/R512 routes in preference to the N20, as do a lot of others based on the traffic on that route. The N20 could be the backbone of the 5 southern counties in Munster. It connects two major urban centres, traverses some of the richest agricultural land anywhere and has the potential to be the spine of the nervous system of this region. The attached demonstrates this. This is a time we need bit of vision, an investment in the future, the putting in place of a foundation for development and prosperity. This road could attract traffic far in excess of it current incarnation. Sadly, this is way beyond the capacity of the current political "leadership".

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,586 ✭✭✭KrisW1001

    That’s a completely irrelevant argument, and I don’t recall saying that there should be no upgrade: any new road will bypass those towns and have no farm animal access. The number of vehicles on the open road outside those towns is very low. That level of use is low enough to be dealt with by a single carriageway (up to 12,000 AADT), but a 2+2 (up to 22,000) is the realistic minimum. Type 1 DC is double the capacity of 2+2.

    I actually favour a Type 1 throughout because I don’t think 2+2 would save much money when looking at the whole scheme - the terrain is reasonably flat so the difference in gradients between a 2+2 and Type 1 wouldn’t save much, and there’s probably only two junctions, both of which would deserve grade separation, but could be relatively compact.

    @Hibernicis The oval on your map is a huge overstatement: nobody living to the east of M8 would ever use M20 to get to Limerick. M8 and M24 are the obvious option here. Similarly, nobody in Kerry is going to use the horrible N72 to join M20 when the N21/M21 will be a more direct and batter quality road much earlier (consider how many upgrade projects are active on N21 right now, from Adare bypass down, while N20 still hasn’t gone to planning).

    ... and nobody except fringe Green Party members is saying that this project will cost €3 billion. As far as I can see, that €3bn is a crude calculation based on 2:1 public transport provision on top of the actual project cost of €1bn. The 2:1 isn’t per project, it’s nationally, and with Metrolink looking like coming in at at least €6 bn (with potential to hit ten if things are allowed to continue as they have in the past) there’s plenty of space in the road budget.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20 Ball boy

    Also situations where the farm is split with the current n20 and will be split again with a new route.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,902 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762

    It'll also not reach its full potential without the N40 North Ring link from the M20 to M8. I'm one of the people who uses the Ballylanders route anytime other than a Sunday morning and I'll still use it probably, as a lovely M20 followed by an unpleasant crash through Ballyvolane would be absolutely, tear jerkingly stupid - but seems to be what is happening.

  • Registered Users Posts: 825 ✭✭✭pajoguy

    The government have made a shambles of this NDP announcment. Brian Leddin claiming the N/M20 will be a mix and match of a few different solutions, Coveney says no it will be Motorway standard and just heard Patrick O'Donovan on Live 95fm claiming it will 100% be Motorway and he even mentioned blue signs!!!!! He spoke about the Programme For Government superceeding the NDP as the PFG references the previous NDP which had M20 in it not N/M20. On another note Leddin claims the Northern Distributor Road in Limerick will now not go ahead as it is not in the NDP but O'Donavan has said it is still on the agenda as it is in the previous NDP referred to in the PFG!!!

    In fairness O'Donovan spoke passionately about the M20 and about the number of lives lost etc. and landowners being left in limbo for years and seemed to indicate the Greens comments have created more uncertainty for the landowners. He mentioned the MWRDO have been tasked with delivering a Motorway route. Im sure the consultants will have a giggle at this.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,873 ✭✭✭Pete_Cavan

    The PfG doesn't actually committ to the previous NDP, it only talks of the review of it.

    National Development Plan

    We will bring forward the planned review of the National Development Plan (NDP) from 2022. We will use the review to set out an updated NDP for the period to 2031.

    The review of the NDP will be consistent with the ambition of the Programme for Government. The updated NDP will be aligned with the National Planning Framework (NPF).

    I don't think harking back to the previous NDP will achieve anything, the PfG clearly recognises that it will be changed.