N/M20 Cork To Limerick Road Improvement Scheme
In partnership with Barry Transportation and WSP, Sweco has been appointed as Technical Advisors by Limerick City and County Council, the lead authority for the project, to progress the scheme through the design and planning stages.
The project team will provide all engineering, environmental, economic and appraisal services required for the planning and design of a high-quality solution connecting Cork and Limerick. The services are separated into four distinct phases in accordance with the Transport Infrastructure Ireland Project Management Guidelines:
Phase 1: Concept and Feasibility
Phase 2: Options Selection
Phase 3: Design and Environmental Evaluation
Phase 4: Statutory Procedures
The project commenced in March 2019 with the Concept and Feasibility phase (Phase 1) completed in March 2020 and the Options Selection phase (Phase 2) commencing. The Options Selection process is advancing and due to be completed in mid 2021.
With Cork and Limerick being the second and third largest urban areas in Ireland, links between both cities are currently very limited and not fit for purpose. This transport improvement scheme will strengthen economic links between these cities and is set to enable the development of Cork-Limerick ‘twin city’ region, delivering significant social and community benefits, improving productivity and enabling the creation of new jobs. The road linking both cities will be the largest infrastructure project outside of Dublin.
This will be a flagship project for Limerick City and County Council, Cork County Council, Cork City Council, Tipperary County Council, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland. The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, who was present at City Hall, Limerick, for the contract signing described the project as the “biggest single road contract for the next decade”.
Reduced journey times, improved safety, alleviated congestion and severance, together with stimulated regional economic growth are key objectives for the N/M20 project.
In Phase 1 the design team undertook a review of the concept and feasibility of the scheme assessing the potential of road and rail-based scenarios to improve the connectivity between Cork and Limerick. This was largely supported by the Sweco appraisal and traffic teams concluding that a road-based scenario, running broadly in the N20 corridor, and two rail-based scenarios should be taken forward for further assessment.
During Phase 2, feasible corridor options for both the road and rail-based scenarios have been developed and are being comparatively assessed to establish the preferred corridor in which to then develop a preferred option.
Complimentary to the developing options, the team is assessing opportunities to integrate with existing and new public transport services and are also promoting active travel solutions to provide a more encompassing and balanced solution.
In fulfilling several key roles on the project, Sweco is leading on many of the key tasks providing overall guidance and sharing experience through all stages of the project.
Effective collaboration is a key driver in achieving the best results for the project and as such we are working closely with Limerick City and County Council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Cork and Mid-West regional design offices.
The co-location of staff in a dedicated project office from all three companies facilitates day-to-day collaboration through informal means (ad-hoc meetings, technical discussions) generating a greater project understanding for all parties.
Working with our partners, Sweco is fulfilling several key roles with Demitrios Paraskevakis leading as the Project Manager. Steve Wallace is leading the Appraisal process and is closely supported by Tara O’Leary who is leading the Traffic Modelling. In addition, Mary Creedon is leading Hydrology and Drainage, whilst Maeve English is leading Waste Management and Lewis Barlow is leading on Climate Change.