The new traffic lights will be erected at the junction of Buncrana Road and Springtown Road.
The major upgrade of one of Derry's busiest roads appears as far off as ever after the Department for Infrastructure (Dfi) again failed to provide a start date for the £70 million project.
The upgrade of the Buncrana Road was first mooted some 40 years ago.
Hopes that work would commence in the near future rose this week after it emerged that traffic lights are to be erected at the Springtown Road junction of Buncrana Road.
However, Dfi has quashed those hopes by stating the new lights were being put in place to facilitate an expectant increase in traffic due to the construction of a new Lidl supermarket due to open in 12 weeks time.
In a statement to the Derry News, a Dfi spokesperson said: “Planning permission was granted for a new Lidl store on the Buncrana Road which includes for the upgrade of the Springtown Road/Buncrana Road junction to a signal controlled junction prior to the opening of the new store.
“This measure is to assist the mitigation of the impact of traffic generated by the new retail outlet in the interests of road safety and traffic progression and will incorporate a pedestrian phase.”
The spokesperson added: “In June 2020, Minster Mallon announced her commitment to fund the continued development of a number of Strategic Road Improvement schemes including the A2 Buncrana Road, as part of her plan to aid economic recovery and community transformation while addressing regional imbalance.
“Consistent with wider priorities, Minister Mallon is committed to ensuring that this scheme is future-proofed to help stimulate green recovery.
“The Department is continuing to progress the A2 Buncrana Road scheme in line with the objectives which include improving transport links, road safety, traffic progression and contributing to the regeneration of the area."
The spokesperson concluded: “Officials will continue discussions with all affected landowners and other stakeholders over the coming months and to progress scheme development.”
Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Martina Anderson said it was 'vitally important' the upgrade took place as soon as possible.
“The full upgrade of this road is crucial to ensure that it is fit for purpose as a main gateway into our Donegal hinterland and feature in any future expansion of the Fort George site.
“And it is also vitally important to make sure that happens as soon as possible for all the residents and businesses along its entirety as it’s estimated that over 20,000 vehicles use it daily.”
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