Buncrana Road widening plans to be consulted on in 2022 in Derry

Public consultation on an impact assessment report and draft orders for the long-awaited Buncrana Road dualling project will be held in the first half of 2022, it has been confirmed.

In a presentation before the Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee, elected representatives were told officials were aware of concerns raised over plans unveiled back in 2019, particuarly in terms of access for residents and businesses located along the A2 road.

The 4.1km road is one of the north west’s busiest routes and the plans involve widening the largely single lane route to dual lanes along its entire length from the border at Bridgend in Donegal right up to Pennyburn roundabout.

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Harry Gallagher, Acting Divisional Manager, Department for Infrastructure Roads Service Western Division told the committee: “We know that is a key aerterial road in the north west of the city, and the proposals to upgrade the existing road to a dual carriageway were presented back in 2019, but we are aware within the department of design concerns for this proposal and an Environmental Impact Report is planned for public consultation in 2022 to help inform the next steps for this project.”

An artist's impression of the newly dualled road as detailed back in 2019.

SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney asked whether this had been put back as Councillors were previously told it would take place this year.

Mr Gallagher responded that it was hoped the public consultation will take place in the first half of 2022.

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A Network Transport Plan endorsed improving the Buncrana Road in 2015 and in March 2019 the Department held a public information day on its new proposals.

The plans included six roundabouts at Pennyburn Roundabout; Racecourse Road; Springtown Road; Branch Roundabout; Skeoge Roundabout; and Elagh Business Park.

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For road safety reasons, this proposal includes the provision of a central median between Pennyburn Roundabout and Skeoge Roundabout, thus preventing right turning movements into and out of junctions and accesses. Left-in left-out access is provided at the majority of these junctions and minor accesses, but under this particular proposal those wishing to turn right would be required to travel to the nearest roundabout junction and to approach their destination via left turn movements only.

A report presented before the committee stated: “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 the scheme in early/mid 2022 for formal public consultation before the Minister decides on next steps.”

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Based on a survey carried out back in 2017 the 3km stretch from Pennyburn roundabout to Skeoge roundabout carries up to 24,000 vehicles per weekday.

The report also noted the congestion at peak periods and at other times of the day.

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