Cork County Council has reapplied to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) for funding to enable it to lodge a planning application for the Mallow bypass.
However, some councillors are concerned Transport Minister Eamon Ryan will intervene again and withhold the money.
Almost a year ago, Mr Ryan used his executive powers to prevent the council from getting €1.2m to progress the project to the planning stage.
Niall Healy, the council’s director of roads, confirmed it had sought money to reignite the project and said the council had “clearly articulated the importance of the project progressing” to TII.
The council has also sought funding from TII to upgrade some junctions on the N20 between Grenagh and Buttevant, amid concerns expressed by a number of communities and public representatives that they were not safe.
At a meeting of the council’s Northern Division, Fine Gael councillor Tony O’Shea asked if the council had sought funding again to progress the Mallow bypass and was told it had.
While he and other councillors welcomed this, some expressed concern Mr Ryan may intervene again and stop TII releasing the money.
“Eamon Ryan intervened last time and stopped the money. We have lost almost a year now since then. I’m worried same minister won’t allocate it. I really can’t see any light at the end of this tunnel,” Fianna Fáil councillor Pat Hayes said.
His party colleague Gearóid Murphy said: “We’re all extremely aware of the importance of this and it’s in the National Development Plan. It’s an essential piece of infrastructure. I share the concerns about the minister. If he issues a diktat again what happens then?”
Council officials said they hoped to have a decision on the funding application late this year or early in 2024.
They have also sought TII funding for upgrading some junctions on the N20.
Fine Gael councillor Liam Madden said there had been a number of accidents at junctions and communities split by the road are extremely concerned about this, especially as junction upgrades were mooted several years ago amid safety fears.
He said traffic has increased significantly on the main road and people could regularly wait up to a quarter of an hour to get across it.
Mr Healy said “the ultimate solution to making the route safer is the upgrade of the N/M20″. But Mr Madden said communities could not wait until it was completed, which could take up 10 years.
Some new lining will be undertaken in the interim to improve junction safety.
Mr Healy said councillors would be given an updated briefing on the proposed N/M20 upgrade next week and after that ‘webinars’ on the project would go out to public consultation, either at the end of this month or in December.