Donegal County Council has confirmed that the planning application for the greenway linking Buncrana to Bridgend – as part of the overall Derry City to Buncrana route – will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála this year. The route will complete the INTERREG-funded sections, as construction in Lifford is virtually completed and Muff will commence during the summer months.
The Buncrana route was selected after an extensive consultation process began in February 2018, culminating with the preferred corridor being published in July 2019. While the project suffered delays because of the restrictions imposed as a result of Covid-19, from July 2020 to May 2021 landowners along the route corridor were engaged by the Council, discussing the alignment and accommodation works required.
Funding for the route has been provided through the EU’s INTERREG VA programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding has been provided by the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland and the Department for Transport in Ireland.
The greenway corridor selected in 2019 links Bridgend to Burnfoot before carrying on to Inch Nature Reserve, where one alignment spurs for Newtowncunningham, and a second alignment continues on to Fahan marina and ends at the shore front in Buncrana.
In June 2020, Derry City and Strabane District Council submitted the planning application which will link into this portion of the greenway at Bridgend, bringing it through Templemore Sports Complex and terminating in the grounds of St Columb’s College. Plans for the A2 Buncrana Road will subsequently link the greenway into a new dedicated shared lane bringing cyclists and pedestrians safely to the Culmore Road Roundabout, allowing users to link into the Bay Road Park (and ultimately to continue on to Muff) and the dedicated cycle route that takes users into the city centre along the River Foyle.
Rónán Gallagher, Communications Manager for the greenway project said: ‘This cross-border infrastructure project is vital for the development of the North West City Region and of Inishowen in particular. Subject to planning approval, it will play a significant role in encouraging active travel whilst benefitting the health and wellbeing of everyone who will use it. With construction also imminent in Muff and additional sections being considered linking Buncrana to Carndonagh and Muff to Quigley’s Point, the greenway network in Inishowen is now taking shape, and will ultimately feed into a wider county network being planned across all the municipal districts.’