Representatives from Cork County Council met with Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, in Dublin on Monday to discuss a range of transport issues affecting Cork, including the proposed M20 motorway and the Mallow Northern Relief Road.
Also discussed during the 80 minute meeting were the Dunkettle Interchange, the Cork Northern Ring Road, the financial position of Bus Éireann and the need for greater funding for regional and local roads.
Cllr Frank O’Flynn was among the county councillors to attend the meeting, along with Cllr Declan Hurley, the new County Mayor, and Tom Stritch, Director of Road Services within Cork County Council.
Speaking to The Avondhu, Cllr O’Flynn said Minister Ross acknowledged ‘the large shopping list’ the Cork representatives had brought with them and was impressed with their presentation.
On the topic of the proposed M20, Minister Ross said an appraisal is being carried out to determine the feasibility of the Cork to Limerick motorway, which is expected to cost more than €800 million.
“That road would connect Ireland’s second and third largest cities, it would be of huge importance to North Cork. He did say he would look at it and that he’s doing an appraisal of it,” Cllr O’Flynn said.
He added that the feasibility study is looking at the route the proposed motorway would take, which could take in Fermoy and Mitchelstown along the M8.
Asked whether he would prefer the M20 route to take in Fermoy and Mitchelstown or instead travel through Mallow, Cllr O’Flynn said: “It’s hard to know, I’d like to see what the feasibility study says.”
On the topic of the Mallow Northern Relief Road, the meeting heard that it is on the current Capital Investment Programme and it is awaiting a further study before a ‘rigorous appraisal’ of its feasibility, said Cllr O’Flynn.
“The northern relief road could go ahead without the M20, it could be a standalone project and then it could fit in with the M20. There is a great need for that road, it would have major benefits for the future economic development of Mallow, Fermoy and Mitchelstown,” he said.
The meeting heard that a contractor will be appointed for the Dunkettle Interchange project later in the year and construction is planned to start in 2019, while work on the N22 Macroom Bypass is due to commence in 2020. On the topic of extra funding for regional and local roads, Cllr O’Flynn said there is a ‘major need’ for improvements on local roads in North Cork.