Dualling plans drawn up for Buncrana Road

The Buncrana Road in Derry.
The Buncrana Road in Derry.

Designs for a long-awaited dualling of the Buncrana Road are currently being drawn up, the Department for Infrastructure has confirmed.

Officials have told the Journal that fresh traffic surveys along the busy route between Derry and Donegal have now been carried out.

However, the Department has cautioned that the draft orders for the carriageway will only be issued in 2019 or 2020 if funding is ring-fenced.

It is now 12 years since the proposal to widen the 2.8-mile Buncrana Road to four lanes - between Pennyburn Roundabout and the border at Bridgend - was detailed in the Regional Strategic Transport Network Plan.

Public consultation on the proposed £60m project began in April 2007,

A preferred route was announced in 2009, but dualling work along the road has never started.

Prior to the collapse of the Executive, former Transport Minister Chris Hazzard said several months ago he was committed to seeing the Buncrana Road plans developed, as he pledged £1m to move the project along.

A DFI spokesperson said: “Following an announcement in October 2016 of the intention to progress the development of several major road projects, including the A2 Buncrana Road upgrade, DfI commissioned a consultant to advance the development of the Buncrana Road project.

“To date, fresh traffic surveys have been undertaken to ensure that the traffic modelling and associated junctions designs are robust.

“DfI is currently developing the carriageway and junctions design with a view, should funding permit, to publishing the draft statutory orders and environmental statement in 2019/2020.

“Prior to this, DfI will hold public information events and consult with landowners to ensure that their views and concerns are given due consideration.

“Delivery of the scheme will be dependent on the priorities of a future Executive and related budget settlements.”

Figures published back in 2013 showed that the main urban stretch of the road from Pennyburn roundabout to Skeoge roundabout carried up to 21,300 vehicles per weekday.

The remaining rural section to the border carried up to 19,600 vehicles a day.