Government officials have confirmed that they are currently engaged in talks with around 60 landowners affected by plans to widen the Buncrana Road.
Discussions are also taking place with other interested parties as part of preparations for the long-awaited construction phase getting under way.
It has been previously stated that some properties may have to be vested to accommodate the plans to create two laneways in each direction from Pennyburn Roundabout right down to the border at Bridgend.
The 4.4km A2 Buncrana Road dualling project is one of the largest of its kind in the north west, but has been beset by delays over the years. While the project was included in the draft 2016 to 2021 NI programme for government and is listed as a priority in a raft of other plans, it is now over a decade since a preferred route was first identified.
In 2016, the then Transport Minister Chris Hazzard announced a stimulus package to recommence preparatory work with a view to having draft statutory orders and the Environmental Statement for the project issued.
The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has previously said that this will happen next year, but a spokesperson failed to confirm whether this is still on track for 2020.
Updated route proposals were however presented to the public at events in Derry in 2018 and following amendments, again earlier this year.
A DfI spokesperson told the Journal: “Following the latest public information day held in March 2019, design and development work on the A2 Buncrana Road improvement scheme continues to progress in consultation with approximately 60 affected land owners and many other stakeholders.
“The Department, however, continues to face significant budget challenges and as with any major road scheme, delivery is dependent on the completion of the statutory processes and the availability of funding,” she cautioned.
By 2017, the section of the road from Pennyburn roundabout to Skeoge roundabout was carrying up to 24,000 vehicles per weekday with congestion at peak periods and even at other times throughout the day. The rural section from Skeoge roundabout to the border carried up to 19,600 vehicles per weekday.
The Department have stated that the proposed scheme will “deliver a greatly improved level of service on this important arterial route” linking Derry to Donegal and the rest of the Republic. “It will deliver improved traffic progression, improved road safety and will facilitate further expansion of local housing and industry,” it states.