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About the Project

The project aims to provide an attractive trail between the settlements of Bridgend – Buncrana – Newtowncunningham in County Donegal, mainly to be used for recreational and commuting purposes by pedestrians, cyclists, wheeled users, and people with impaired mobility. Delivery of this greenway will provide a great recreational facility and social support for local communities by providing a linkage from Buncrana, the second largest town in Donegal (population of 6,971) with Ireland’s sixth largest city of Derry, (population of 85,279).

Drawing domestic and international visitors to Donegal in addition to generating access to other settlements and employment locations along the selected route, benefitting social and economic factors in these settlements. It will act as a valuable commuting corridor between Buncrana and Bridgend, and Newtowncunningham and Bridgend, and onward to Derry city, the largest regional city by providing a safe, substantially segregated, sustainable, and healthy modal option for all levels of user.

It is anticipated that the provision of a greenway as part of the National Cycle Network will provide enhanced access to the wider region, enticing users to explore its surrounding towns and villages, encouraging the modal shift to active travel commuting and further develop untapped tourism potential while enhancing the environment and biodiversity along the selected route. The project also provides the opportunity to highlight the historical and educational significance of such places, whilst promoting the scenic nature of the surrounding area. Furthermore, linking the various rural settlements along the selected route will greatly improve accessibility.

Project Objectives

Investment in walking and cycling is a key policy objective of the Government. The National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2030 recognises the importance of active travel not only in reducing carbon emissions, but also in achieving other national strategic outcomes such as compact urban growth and balanced regional development. Other national policy, such as the Climate Action Plan, National Investment Framework for Transport in Ireland (NIFTI), the Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways, and the National Sustainable Mobility Policy highlight the multi-faceted benefits provided by active travel investment, including carbon emission reductions, physical and mental health benefits, increased tourism and improvements to accessibility and social inclusion.

Seven primary objectives have been developed for the Bridgend to Buncrana and Newtowncunningham Greenway project, taking into consideration the National Planning Framework and the ‘Five S’ Criteria outlined within the Government’s Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways, namely: Scenic, Sustainable, Strategic, Segregated and lots to See and Do.

Project objectives are as follows:

Improve safety of vulnerable road users through provision of substantially segregated facility.

Enhance economic growth in the region and the services sector by increasing visitor numbers and cross border connectivity and promoting activity tourism in the area.

Minimize, where possible, the environmental impact of the greenway and provide appropriate biodiversity habitat along the route.

Provide active travel linkages to key attractions such as schools, GAA centres, community centres etc. along the route to promote active travel and decarbonization of transport journeys in the Study Area.

Improve accessibility and attractiveness of the area, through provision of trail head facilities and connectivity with existing facilities and amenities accessible for use by people of all age groups and mobility levels.

Improve mental health and physical fitness by building lifelong healthy habits through provision of convenient, accessible, and inclusive space for physical activity, increasing opportunities for daily exercise and commuting opportunities.

Improve integration by creating linkages to existing and proposed cycling and walking infrastructure and other public amenities.

These objectives will evolve, and be further refined, over the course of the project life cycle.

What’s Happening Now?

Donegal County Council, with the support of Transport Infrastructure Ireland, has recently commissioned a consultancy services team, Barry Transportation, to assist in the development of the Bridgend to Buncrana and Newtowncunningham Greenway project.

The feedback and submissions received through the non-statutory public consultation process will be considered by the project team as part of Phase 1 Concept and Feasibility and will help to inform the development of the project.