Donegal County Council, in partnership with Derry City Council, has confirmed that construction will begin on a new greenway from Muff to Quigley’s Point next year.
The new 5-kilometre cycle and walking route – expected to cost up to €2 million – will follow the seaward side of the busy main R238 road between the two Foyleside villages.
The announcement comes following the recent completion of the €1 million 3-kilometre greenway along the back roads of Kilderry, Muff, which is part of the wider North West Greenway Network (NWGN) that which will eventually link much of Inishowen with Derry city.
The Council has revealed that the Muff to Quigley’s Point greenway project, which will also tie-in with the NWGN, successfully gained Part 8 planning in May 2022 and is now “scheduled to go to construction in 2023”.
“The scheme will provide a segregated shared cycling/walking facility and will be typically 6 metres in width overall, comprised of a separation strip from the road, a 3-metre wide cycle/walking surface and provision of a comfort strip separating the greenway from hedges and boundaries,” a DCC spokesperson explained.
To help inform the detailed design of the scheme, a number of advance survey contracts are being progressed by Donegal County Council and are scheduled over the coming weeks and months.
The survey contracts include archaeological built heritage surveys, as well as some archaeological test trenching and metal detection surveys. Ground investigation contracts will also be undertaken to determine the typical ground conditions along the proposed route.
“Some privately-owned land will be required to facilitate the construction of the scheme and Donegal County Council has appointed a valuation consultant who will shortly contact and engage with affected landowners in regard to the scheme’s requirements,” the DCC spokesperson said.
“Donegal County Council wishes to express its gratitude to residents and landowners along the route for their continued engagement and positive involvement on the project,” they added.
‘DEVIL WILL BE IN DETAIL’
However, cycling enthusiast Ronan Gallagher, from the Wee Greenway Initiative, who has championed the Inishowen Greenway since 2014, has given the news only a caution welcome.
“In principle this is good news for Derry and Inishowen, but the devil will be in the detail.”
“For example, who gives way at entrances to fields and driveways? If cyclists are to yield then that will be disappointing, undermining the investment in this type of infrastructure.”
“It is also surprising that the surveys mentioned were not completed in advance of the planning being approved. What happens if something of archaeological importance is discovered or ground conditions don’t permit the chosen route to be constructed? Where will that leave the construction phase of the project?” Ronan has asked.
The cost of a greenway is currently estimated at around €400,000 per kilometre – depending on infrastructure required, including bridges, culverts, farm entrance setbacks, etc – meaning that the Muff to Quigley’s Point section is likely to cost around €2 million.
Next year Donegal County Council intends to begin construction on a new 7.5kms Lifford to Castlefin greenway.
The local authority says both schemes (Quigley’s Point and Lifford) are being funded by EU money, specifically under the EU’s Interreg programme, administered by Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).