Plans to upgrade a 7 km stretch of the N25 between Carrigtwohill and Midleton took a step closer on Monday with the signing of a Contract for the route design stage.
The Contract, worth €1.9 million, has been awarded to the European Engineering Consultancy Company, Sweco, who have an office based in Cork.
The overall scheme, once completed, is expected to cost €70million.
In November 2018 Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said the N25 forms part of the Atlantic Economic Corridor, and Cork County Council needed to return to the drawing board, as the 2009 design for the route no longer met modern standards.
A decade after a study of the 7km section East of Carrigtwohill, the Department of Transport approved a Project Appraisal Plan which cleared the way for another report.
In 2010 a full Transport Management Report and Design was completed, with experts recommending that the section of motorway should be upgraded to a high quality dual carriageway through median closures and the construction of a new grade separated junction.
The upgrade of this section of road is seen as key to attracting industry and jobs to East Cork at the former Amgen site just outside Carrigtwohill.
The 56 hectare site has lain idle since 2009, when the Biotechnology Company decided to put the construction of its billion dollar bulk manufacturing facility on hold. The factory had the potential of employing up to 1,100 people, which would have changed the entire makeup of the region.
At the time Cork County Council invested over €6 million to upgrade the site to accommodate its development.
Since 2009 a number of firms have expressed significant interest in obtaining the former Amgen site, although no formal commitment to take over the site has been made.
Under the Midleton and Waterrock Master Plans the Authority intend to construct 5,000 homes, 6 schools (4 Primary and 2 Secondary) a Shopping Centre, a number of parks and a second Railway Station for the Midleton area, leading to fears that the N25 between Carrigtwohill and Midleton will be gridlocked unless new infrastructure is put in place.