Almost £1m has been pledged towards developing the long-standing plans to dual the entire Buncrana Road.
The major funding allocation has been hailed as a statement of intent and comes just weeks after the Infrastructure Minister, Chris Hazzard, stated that he was committed to the Buncrana Road project.
It is now 11 years since the proposal to widen the 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 with a preferred route announced two years later, but dualling work along the route has never started.
Sinn Féin Foyle MLA, Raymond McCartney, yesterday welcomed the announcement that £800,000 from the Assembly’s October Monitoring Round has been allocated to the A2 Buncrana Road.
Mr. McCartney commented: “The funding which will come in two phases over the next two years will see a major exercise in getting the Buncrana Road into a state of readiness for future investment and moves towards actual construction.
“The £800,000 will allow traffic surveys, traffic volume counts, the beginning of preliminary landowner meetings and complete detailed specimen design all to be carried.
“This main arterial route, connecting Derry with Donegal, is not capable of taking the volume of traffic that uses it on a daily basis from the roundabout at Pennyburn to Bridgend.
“The backlog of traffic that occurs on this road is a nightmare for motorists and pedestrians, so it’s clear something needs to be done.”
He added that a key component going forward will be the “co-operation and understanding of the local community”.
Minister Hazzard, speaking directly to ‘Journal’ readers about plans to develop a wide range of infrastructure projects across the north west, said in early October: “I want also to progress the A2 Buncrana Road scheme. This is a unique opportunity to develop a cross-border economic corridor.
“As a cross-border city region with a catchment area of 400,000 people, the fourth largest on this island, the importance of developing the North-West gateway should not be underestimated.”