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Proposed Cork - Limerick M20 Road in Difficulty - Researcher

category national | environment | feature author Friday August 15, 2008 09:51author by Brian Guckianauthor email railprojects at eircom dot netauthor phone 087 9140105 Report this post to the editors

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Brian Guckian Speaks Outside Dáil (about Tara/M3)

Brian Guckian, a researcher into sustainable development and transport in Ireland, lays out the case against the proposed Cork to Limerick (M20) Motorway.

Mr Guckian claims that the scheme is not supported by traffic counts, that it breaches EU Law and government environmental policies, and that councils could face fines and funding penalties if it goes ahead.

AN attempt to propose a €1 billion motorway between Cork and Limerick is already in difficulty according to a national sustainable transport researcher and campaigner.

Brian Guckian, who carries out research and development into sustainable transport in Ireland and who has advocated radical extension of the national rail network, light rail systems for regional cities and the modification or scrapping of a number of unsustainable road schemes including the controversial M3 in Meath and the Outer Bypass in Galway, said that the proposed M20 motorway was not supported by traffic count data, breached EU laws and guidelines on sustainable transport and contravened evolving government policies on climate change and energy efficiency.

He said that County and City Councils were among the primary perpetrators of soaring CO2 emissions implicated in climate change as well as chronic fossil fuel dependency in Ireland due to a deeply-entrenched roads culture in their organisations. He said a Submission to the Department of Transport in April of this year had proposed robust measures to deal with this, including staff re-training, re-organisation of Council roads departments into Sustainable Transport Departments and funding cuts and fines to Councils that insisted on proceeding with unsustainable road-building schemes.

Mr Guckian said that greenfield roads were "like huge carbon pumps", increased rather than reduced traffic, reinforced oil dependency, were profoundly uneconomic and constituted negative infrastructure that was discredited since the 1960s. He said a sample study of the secondary costs of the controversial M3 motorway in 2005 had found that it would generate total costs, conservatively estimated, of at least €5.6 billion over 30 years.

The initial public consultation on the proposed M20 motorway had already breached the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment by presenting a road scheme as the only option for improving transport links between Cork and Limerick. A holistic, economic and evironmentally responsible approach comprising a mixture of direct rail services, enhanced coach services and modest improvements to the existing N20 road had been ignored, whereas EU legislation required all transport options to be considered, and with an emphasis on sustainable modes such as rail and coach, he said.

Mr Guckian stated that in general the motorway proposal was deeply immoral, and not least because at an estimated €1 billion, it would take funds from much-needed primary healthcare, education, housing, public transport and other essential services in the Cork and Limerick region in years to come. If constructed it would also be largely unaffordable for users due to ongoing increases in fuel costs and charges.

An Atlantic Corridor did not have to be motorway-based but could offer transport choice and value via more modest road improvments in conjunction with greatly improved rail, railfreight and coach services, which would also signficantly cut traffic, he said.

There was already a direct rail link between Cork and Limerick via Limerick Junction, but an even more direct rail route which would cut road traffic had formerly existed via Charleville, Croom and Patrickswell, closed since 1967. Re-opening the railway between these points would cost an estimated € 116 million - a fraction of the cost of the proposed motorway - and generate benefits of at least €14 million per annum, he said.

A common perception that rail transport needed allegedy high "population densities" for viability was also wrong, since its external environmental, social and economic benefits, which greatly increased viability, were never taken into account. He said that the Strategic Rail Review of 2003 had shown that rail would generate savings to Irish society and economy of at least € 18 billion up to 2022. This figure was extremely conservative as it had been based on low values of CO2 and had not taken into account even greater savings from significantly increased railfreight services.

Mr Guckian indicated that Cork and Limerick County Councils would be referred to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who have previously indicated that 98% of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions from transport derive from a chronic over-reliance on road transport. He also said he was available to help opponents of the proposed road and can be contacted at railprojects@eircom.net

author by Terencepublication date Thu Aug 14, 2008 19:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would suspect this is also the case for the Dublin-Waterford motorway, because even if the whole population of Waterford used the motorway it would barely justify it. Surely widening of the existing road would do.

author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Fri Aug 15, 2008 09:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is something seriously wrong with a Government that will not listen to reason.

Related Link: http://www.meathmasterplan.com
author by Moneymakerpublication date Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Quote "I would suspect this is also the case for the Dublin-Waterford motorway, because even if the whole population of Waterford used the motorway it would barely justify it. Surely widening of the existing road would do."

I suspect that the reasons behind making this road is to create a new Toll Road for the fat cats to use?

author by old studentpublication date Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

by Tara Tara Tara
There is something seriously wrong with a Government that will not listen to reason."

As the Government consists of our elected representatives,
why on earth do you suppose that they should listen to us?

Because if we were truly politically informed it would be us who were in government and not them.

As ever any government is Power over the people and never People Power over the government and unless a country adopts the slow Marxist approach of a committee in every community throughout the land.

Even then it still does not mean that a minority opinion will get their ideas adopted.

author by Edward Horganpublication date Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Top priority should be given to an efficient railway from Cork, through Limerick, Galway and on to Sligo. However with Iarnrod charging fifty five Euro for a return trip from Limerick to Dublin, we also need alternative rail transport providers.
Improved and cheaper public transport is the answer, not more motorways in areas of the country where the population does not justify the expenditure and environment damage of motorways.

The motorway under construction from Nenagh to Limerick represents a gross waste of public funds and serious environmental damage. The existing roads are already underused, and the rail link from Limerick to Nenagh is under funded.

author by Carrigartpublication date Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Road traffic is and always will be the principle form of transport in this country. In my view divided highways between major cities are a no-brainer on safety grounds. RSA research shows that the opening of the M1 has reduced fatal accidents on the Dublin - Belfast route by a factor of ten. I agree that a railway should be built between Cork and Galway. It is already the busiest bus route in the country. The point is that both are needed, road and rail, not either / or.
The road from Cork to Limerick, especially between Mallow and Croom is extremely dangerous and seriously sub-standard for the major route between the 2nd and 3rd biggest cities in the country.
Political principles should never take precedence over saving lives. If they do they are morally corrupt.

author by Pgibsonpublication date Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Cork Limerick road is like something out of Sub-Saharan Africa.

If we listen to the Anti-Developmental Luddites this country will be economically crippled long into the future.

An efficient Atlantic corridor is vital to pulling the West of Ireland out of peripheral region status.

The short sightedness of some people is breathtaking.
(Like Dev dreaming of his maidens dancing at crossroads.... while the Germans were building Autobahns.)

author by Corkman in Galwaypublication date Mon Sep 21, 2009 23:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This fellow claims that motorways have been "discredited since the 1960s".
Really? Why then have most of Europe's motorways been built SINCE the 1960s?

Think of all those countries that we so admire; what pops into your head when you think about modern, progressive, eco-friendly socialist-democratic nirvana states? How about Sweden? Switzerland? Denmark? Germany? Norway? Well now...have you ever visited those countries? SURPRISE! They have fabulous motorway networks. The sort that we can still only aspire to. And these people often have to deal with serious terrain problems - mountains, islands, sounds and lakes - that our flat midlands do not pose. We have absolutely no excuse for not putting a complete intercity motorway network in place. It is a no-brainer to have a 120 mile motorway connecting our 3nd, 3rd and 4th largest cities (I'll leave the Galway and Limerick people to fight over which city is currently 3rd and which 4th!). It's a route I drive very often, and by god the traffic volumes do warrant it.

author by Galway Man in Cork.publication date Tue Sep 22, 2009 07:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The road between Mallow and Croom is a disaster...a glorified country boreen.
This Despite the fact that it links the second and third largest cities in the Republic.

The NRA doesn't even call it a "Major Inter Urban Route."
(All those routes radiate from Dublin.)

They have removed the "Mallow to Croom" section on their website here:


And, comically, "M20 Cork to Limerick Northern Section" and "M20 Cork to Limerick Southern Section" refer to the same stretch of road!.

author by harry og - private citizenpublication date Mon Mar 01, 2010 20:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Agree fully with Mr Guckians' points regarding proposed M20 and would like to know what public interest is served by investing over 1 billion of public monies to such an over zealous project.
Would like to know what the public would say should the true foolishness of this project be laid out concisely for them to see!!!
A simpler and more economic stategy could easily be undertaken by bypassing some ot the towns on the route which would not neccessitate a massive motorway blight being imposed on the landowners of Cork and Limerick.
Public interest is the only reason the goverment can exercise its right to eminent domain, and this project is in no way in the public interest at a time when the government coffers are clearly empty!!!

author by Heritage Protectionpublication date Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Writing as a person who would normally be very much inclined to support a well designed national road system, provided we could afford to pay for it using our own resources (i.e. without having to get ourselves "up to our eyes in debt" and consequently completely dependent more or less on the overseas bankers who fund PPP projects for example), I have been terribly put off by the way our "national heritage" has been treated in recent years: ostensibly by our own Republic of Ireland road designers.

Like many others I imagine, I have been particularly put off by what happened during the construction of the M3 at Barronstown in the early hours of July 4th 2007 -- an event which has been described at: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/83306

Allowing for the way that competent and caring road builders can tunnel lengthy distances through mountains made of solid rock (for example), why could a tunnel not have been constructed beneath the particular site at Barronstown shown at the above address? -- which would have been relatively very easy to do (compared to going through solid rock)? -- and well worth the cost, in terms of saving for ourselves, and future generations of our descendants, a large, beautiful, priceless (and now completely irreplaceable) item of our national heritage?

In addition, there then followed the completion of the construction of the N6, which now ignorantly and arrogantly ploughs its way through the heritage complex surrounding the Turoe Stone (located in East Galway) -- the best known and most important piece of Iron Age Celtic stone-art in the world, as described by researcher Tom O' Connor in his book titled "Hand of History - Burden of Pseudo-History" (web site: http://www.handofhistory.com) -- a book which was completed (and available to the public) some years BEFORE the section of this PPP project, through the Turoe area, was completed.

While fully accepting that I might be wrong, I think I could nevertheless be forgiven for suspecting that the present designers of the Republic of Ireland's national road system appear -- for reasons best known to themselves -- to have a very disturbing fondness for indulging themselves in "a bit of cultural genocide" whenever they get the chance?

Also, and before finishing, I feel I should point out that I am not by any means alone in my suspicions -- as anybody willing to experiment with feeding word combinations such as "PPP road projects, cultural genocide" (and suchlike) into one or more of the search engines available on the Internet, can easily find out for themselves.

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