As outlined in my response to Deputy Stanton’s question, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) plans the National Roads Programme and delivers it in conjunction with local authorities. The Programme is developed taking account of Government policy as set out in the Programme for Government, the National Development Plan and the Climate Action Plan and is progressed based on available funding.
In the new NDP launched in October 2021, approximately €5.1 billion is earmarked for new national road projects to 2030. This funding will facilitate improved regional accessibility and will also support compact growth, both of which are key national strategic outcomes in the National Planning Framework. The funding will provide for the development of a number of national road projects including the development of a limited number of new projects as well as the completion of projects which are already at construction stage and those close to it.
The existing N20 is a national primary road connecting the cities of Cork and Limerick. Buttevant, Croom, Charleville, Mallow and Blarney are towns along the route. The road is included in the list of projects to be progressed in the NDP. TII have allocated €5 million to Limerick City and County Council to progress the scheme this year.
The road corridor options to augment and/or replace the existing N20 Cork-Limerick road have been examined. These options were a new dual-carriageway or motorway, or the upgrading of various sections of the existing N20. These road options largely follow the existing route corridor. A number of rail scenarios have also been considered as potential solutions in improving Cork-Limerick connectivity.
Following a public consultation, the Route Options Selection stage has been completed and the Preferred Solution was announced on the 30th of March. This would consist of building a dual-carriageway or motorway along the existing N20 corridor between Cork and Limerick. The Preferred Solution also includes 80km of new active travel infrastructure for walking and cycling, as well as improvements to public transport which would include offering an improved rail service between Cork and Limerick on the existing network.
Following this, work on design and environmental evaluation is now being undertaken by the project team, in addition to the scheme Business Case which is required under the Public Spending Code.
With regard to Compulsory Purchase Orders, as Minister I am currently unable to provide assurances to residents along the chosen route that their homes will not be the subject of CPOs. The route design has yet to be developed within the corridor and it is necessary to follow the statutory processes to be in a position to deliver the final project. The timing for the following steps would depend on the outcome of the planning process, and this would include the matter of CPOs.