Buncrana Road dualling project at gateway route from Derry to Donegal border ‘badly, badly needed’

Local people are due to be consulted on updated plans for the dualling of Buncrana Road later this year following the publication of a fresh Environmental Impact Assessment.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 2:04 pm

An update on the long-awaited project A2 Buncrana Road dualling project was delivered to local Councillors at a special meeting of the Environment & Regeneration Committee.

The Regional Strategic Transport Network Transport Plan (RSTN TP) 2015 endorsed improvement of the A2 Buncrana Road from Pennyburn Roundabout to the border with Donegal at Bridgend, although initial plans stretch back to the 2000s.

The new report states: “The A2 Buncrana Road is a key link in the North West of the city which serves as the main corridor from the city centre to significant industrial and residential areas as well as a link to County Donegal.

The Buncrana Road in Derry.

“The proposed road improvement scheme will assist the economic regeneration of the city and surroundings and will help facilitate future development. Further aims of the proposed scheme are to improve road safety, reduce traffic congestion and support the use of more sustainable transport modes.

“The current proposal includes for upgrading the existing 4.1km single carriageway to dual carriageway standard with six roundabouts at the following locations: Pennyburn Roundabout; Racecourse Road; Springtown Road; Branch Roundabout; Skeoge Roundabout; and Elagh Business Park.

“Primarily for road safety reasons, this proposal includes the provision of a physical central median between Pennyburn Roundabout and Skeoge Roundabout, thus preventing right turning movements into and out of intermediate junctions and accesses.

“Left-in left-out access is provided at the majority of these intermediate junctions and minor accesses. Under this particular proposal those wishing to turn right into or out of their accesses would be required to travel to the nearest roundabout junction and to approach their destination via left turn movements only.”

The rural section between Skeoge Roundabout and Elagh Business Park will also be upgraded to a four-lane dual carriageway with similar characteristics, the report states.

The Minister is aware of the concerns of local businesses and local elected representatives and has asked officials to continue to consult with stakeholders and landowners on the design of the scheme.

The Department aims to publish the draft statutory orders and Environmental Impact Assessment Report for a designed scheme in late 2021 for formal public consultation before the Minister Nichola Mallon decides on next steps.

Responding to the report, SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney said: “We all understand how much of an impact the Buncrana Road has on traffic right across our city and how much of a major development that is for our city and for inviting people into it.

“I look forward to the publishing of the Environmental Assessment scheme later this year and I’m hoping it’s something we can push on. It’s badly, badly needed.”

Colr. Tierney also called for more public engagement with residents along the route.

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson concurred that the A2 Buncrana Road and the A5 Derry to Aughnacloy were “much needed schemes”.

He referred to a firm commitment on the A6 by former Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard. “We then shortly after seen progress,” Colr. Jackson said. “I’m heartened by the Minister’s comments that the Minister is committed to both the A5 and A2 and hopefully soon we will see progress and delivery on the ground. For far too long we have seen delays particularly on those two projects.”

To find out more about the current proposed scheme please visit: www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/articles/a2-buncrana-road-londonderry-schemeinformation