AN TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has announced plans for the long-awaited M20 motorway which will join three west of Ireland cities.
Mr Varadkar made the announcement while speaking at a Cork Chamber event this morning, October 13.
Mr Varadkar said the funding has been secured to commence the planning process and that the project will be included in the 10 year plan for capital investment.
As a result of the financial crisis in 2011 the Government shelved the planned expansion of the M20 motorway.
Currently, the M20 stops after exit 4 southbound at Patrickswell in Co Limerick before continuing as the N20 to Cork.
Under the new 80km expansion, the M20 will link Cork and Limerick and join the new M18 motorway recently opened in Galway forming the Atlantic Corridor.
M20 will link Cork to Limerick and on to Galway. All roads will no longer lead the Dublin. Major part of next capital plan.
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) October 13, 2017
On completion, it will be the first major transport route in Ireland not to terminate in Dublin.
Fine Gael Limerick Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Finance, Kieran O’Donnell, welcomed the announcement saying: “The people of Limerick and the wider Munster region have been waiting for this motorway for a long time and I have been campaigning heavily for it.
"The motorway will reduce the journey time from Limerick to Cork to 45 minutes."
Currently, it takes one hour and forty minutes to drive between Cork City and Limerick City.
“An Taoiseach noted that once planning permission is secured, the major costs will be in the area of land purchase and construction.
"Those costs are unlikely to arise in the current capital plan to 2021, however they will arise very soon thereafter. That is why this motorway is to be given priority in the 10 Year Capital plan.
“This motorway is absolutely crucial to the development of the Munster region and the continued economic growth of Limerick city.
"It will be of significant benefit to people and businesses in the region and I will continue to advocate for its speedy development," Senator O'Donnell said.