There was some good news for Belfast-bound Donegal motorists this week after it was confirmed the new Dungiven bypass could be open by the end of April.
A Department for Infrastructure official told the BBC this was the deadline it was working towards for the new A6 Derry to Dungiven road “subject to any unforeseen circumstances.”
The new stretch of road mostly runs parallel to the existing road and includes a bypass of the south Derry town.
Speaking on BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme, the DFI’s director of major projects and procurement, Kaine Lynch, said he understood the concerns of local people and the travelling public.
“They have waited a long time for the upgrade and understandably want to know when it will open,” he said.
He was speaking after an interview with DUP East Derry MP Gregory Campbell on BBC Radio Foyle.
The MP said DfI officials had warned him that, in a worst case scenario, the road would open in July.
He also criticised a lack of transparency on the issue.
“We’re now virtually in the spring of ’23 and they’re still not giving a final deadline,” he told Radio Foyle.
Following Mr Campbell’s Radio Foyle interview, Mr Lynch said a road safety audit was now in process and that the main line construction work was “now largely complete with the exception of road signs and street lighting connections”.
He said the DfI was now targeting “the end of April” to finally open the road to the public.
“The street lighting connections will be complete within the next fortnight. Now the signs won’t be complete until next month, but we are running that road safety audit process in parallel.
“We have already identified minor issues in terms of that road safety project and we are actively working towards those.”
The road opened with speed limits and lane restrictions for a short period in summer 2022, but then later closed again as work continued.
DfI say there have been many reasons why there had been delays on opening the new road: Covid-19, spiralling costs of building materials, with some in short supply.
“We have had supply issues in terms of the signs, we have also had inefficiencies with working in quarantine and all the rest. It’s a combination of issues in terms of the delays we are dealing with today.”
The department said in a statement: “The scheme is well advanced and mainline construction work is now largely complete with the exception of a proportion of road signs and street lighting connections.
“We have recently commenced the road safety audit process, which must be completed before the road can be opened.
“Subject to any unforeseen circumstances, the current programme indicates the road could open at the end of April.”