DERRY JOURNAL Editorial: Third road bridge across River Foyle is long overdue

A third vehicular bridge linking the east and west banks of the Foyle has long been suggested and is long overdue.

It is now almost four decades since the city’s second bridge, the Foyle bridge, opened back in 1984 and since then numerous plans and proposals have been put forward for another bridge further to the south past Craigavon bridge.

Over those four decades the amount of traffic on our roads has increased dramatically and yet the road infrastructure has never kept pace. Indeed, if a lorry gets stuck today - as frequently happens - on the lower deck of Craigavon Bridge, the whole town is gridlocked right back to the suburbs. Similarly, if there is an accident, breakdown or high winds forecast necessitating lane or full closure of the Foyle Bridge, the outcome is the same.

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We all know that if Derry’s ambitions are to be fulfilled then connectivity and infrastructure are key to that. It would be wrong to suggest that the current or previous Infrastructure Ministers over the recent era have been sitting on their hands. The driving forward with work and plans for the A6 and A5 is in no small part due to their commitment to these massive undertakings. They get it. They get that Derry and the north west has been badly let down in the past and has not had the investment in infrastructure it deserved. A third bridge is a crucial part of that, as is improving the current road infrastructure and network across and within the city.

River Foyle in Derry. (Photo: Brendan McDaid)

With the A6 progressing at pace we can expect to see more traffic flowing into and out of the city and over the Foyle Bridge in the coming years. The congestion along this route can be serious at the best of times. A third bridge will go a long way to alleviating much of that pressure. It is an urgent necessity and let’s hope it is now seriously planned for and that this does not turn into another version of the stop-start saga we have seen with other projects down the years.