Brakes pulled on A2 Buncrana Road road widening scheme to allow for completion of new transport plans

The long-awaited multi-million pound Buncrana Road scheme is being paused by the Department of Infrastructure (DfI).
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The scheme to widen the A2 between Pennyburn Roundabout and the border has been under review since last year when it was confirmed the overall £85m cost of the project would likely have to be revised upwards due to inflationary pressures.

Now the Department has said the massive road project will be put on hold until it develops a new Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) and suite of Transport Plans which will ‘set the new future direction of transport policy and investment enabling the reduced vehicle trips travelled and modal shift required to ensure that we address our climate change obligations under the the Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022’.

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It says it is doing this to ensure the final design fully aligns with ‘the emerging transport, land use and climate change policies and plans’.

A computer generated image of how the new Buncrana Road might look.A computer generated image of how the new Buncrana Road might look.
A computer generated image of how the new Buncrana Road might look.

“The Department has therefore decided to pause the development of the scheme until the RTS is completed and the Northwest Transport Plan is well enough developed to allow a high quality design to be advanced that fully aligns with the holistic multi modal transport approach for the city, including any linkages to City deal projects,” it outlined on Wednesday.

DfI has said it is fully committed to progressing the road improvement scheme which will ‘assist the economic regeneration and development of Derry city’.

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£85m A2 Buncrana Road widening cost to be revised upwards due to inflation

The widening of the A2 between the lower Strand Road and Coshquin was first mooted in the old Department of Regional Development’s Regional Strategic Transport Network Transport Plan that was published in 2005.

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Eighteen years later the ‘proposal includes the upgrade of the existing 4.1kilometre two lane carriageway to four lanes, including a footway and cycleway, with additional crossings along the route and a Park & Ride Facility’.

DfI says key aims of the scheme are to ‘improve road safety, reduce traffic congestion, include enhanced pedestrian and cyclist provision as well as enhancing public transport along the route’.

The Department insists the redevelopment of Fort George is not dependent on the scheme being implemented arguing that ‘improvements to Pennyburn Roundabout and any other transport mitigation measures can be taken forward as part of the redevelopment proposal’.

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