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New 80km High-Speed Toll Road to Connect Cork and Limerick

Dublin: The design of a new 80-km expressway connecting Cork and Limerick, Ireland’s two major cities, is nearing completion. The final design of this project is expected to be submitted to the government soon, with planning permission anticipated by 2025. Announced last November, the construction of this new route is estimated to cost two billion euros.

The National Road Design Team has recommended the implementation of toll collection for vehicles on this N/M Motorway, which will connect the country’s second and third largest cities.

Key Features of the Proposed Motorway:

– Major Interchanges: The motorway will include significant interchanges at Charleville and Mallow.
– Transport Hubs: There will be six transport hubs, a freight hub, and 100km of dedicated pedestrian and cyclist lanes.
– Site Acquisition: Consultations for site acquisition are ongoing.

Route and Safety Enhancements:

The expressway will start from the existing dual carriageway at Blarney in Cork and merge with the existing M20 motorway at Patrickswell in Limerick. The necessity to improve the N20, which has four times more accidents than the national average, was first discussed in 1998. Although the project was shelved following the financial crisis, it remains a crucial part of the government’s Ireland 2040 plan.

The N/M20 project is being implemented under the joint leadership of Limerick City and County Councils, with support from Transport Infrastructure Ireland. The project team claims this route will be five times safer than the current single carriageway, allowing speeds of up to 120 km per hour, which will significantly reduce travel time.

Toll Collection:

Tolls will be determined based on the distance traveled. Project coordinator Gerry Howard stated that toll collection aims to encourage the use of other transport modes, such as buses, trains, bikes, and car-sharing, and to finance the motorway’s maintenance.

Transport Hubs and Amenities:

The new project will feature six transport hubs with park and share/ride facilities located at Rathduff, Mourne, Buttevant, Charleville in Cork, Limerick. The freight hub will be situated in Mallow, which will also include leisure and entertainment facilities for drivers of all categories, as well as EV charging stations.

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