A5 Strabane to N14/N15 Lifford Link


Construction scheme (future)
To construct a new dual-carriageway to connect the upgraded A5 in Strabane to the N14 route to Letterkenny in county Donegal.
Total Length
0.5 km / 0.3 miles
(Of which 79 metres is in Northern Ireland)

Public exhibition held - Apr/May 2011

Direction Order published - 19 July 2011

Planning permission granted in Rep of Ireland - 30 May 2012
Construction had been due to begin 2012/13 (as of 2011)
Unlikely to be completed before 2023 - as of May 2016

£3.2m for NI portion as of 2007
Likely to be funded by Republic of Ireland
None as yet - please contact me if you have any to contribute.
See Also

Map and design of proposed road and bridge - Donegal County Council

General area map - Google Maps

Official web site on scheme - Donegal County Council

Web site on wider N14/N15 scheme - Donegal County Council

Map showing route within NI - see page 11 of this PDF file

Click here to jump straight down to updates for this scheme.

Although this scheme is being implemented by Donegal County Council, it is included on the site as it has a cross-border element that will be constructed within Northern Ireland. In its original form around 2007, the plan was to upgrade the N14 road which connects Letterkenny in county Donegal to Northern Ireland and hence on to Dublin via Strabane. The whole scheme would have been built to 2+2 dual-carriageway standard and be 18km long. At the eastern end it was to include a new bridge to connect Lifford across the border to Strabane and hence join the A5.

In October 2010 the dual-carriageway plan was suspended. However the short Strabane to Lifford link still needs to go ahead due to the proposed upgrade of the A5. A bridge over the River Finn will be required to carry the new road. Donegal County Council call this a "significant structure between 100 and 300 metres in length". Click here for a map of the current proposals.


2 May 2016: Three and a half years on since the last update, and I felt it was worth giving some kind of update. In late 2012 it looked as if there was imminent movement on this scheme, but the legal challenge resulted in nothing happening. Now it seems that the scheme is still a live scheme in the Republic of Ireland - the page on the Transport Infrastructure Ireland web site (TII, which replaced the NRA in August 2015) gives the status as "in planning" with a note that "its progression is now subject to the timing of the Northern Ireland Roads Service (sic) A5 (WTC) project advancing to construction". It also states that the scheme was given planning approval by An Bord Pleanála on 30 May 2012. The larger-scale N14 Manorcunningham to Lifford upgrade - which was suspended in 2010 giving rise to the need for this much shorter link road - is still officially "suspended". So the position seems to be that this scheme will happen once the adjacent section of the A5 south of Strabane is completed. Since this does not look likely to happen until at least 2021-2023, I think we are still a good few years off construction. If the financial situation in the Republic of Ireland improves it is even possible that the 'suspended' N14 upgrade might take place before the A5 south of Strabane gets upgraded.

12 Sep 2012: Something is definitely going on behind the scenes about this link road and bridge, and I suspect there may be some kind of announcement about this link road in the not-too-distant future. Firstly, a reminder of the background. Since this scheme is designed to link only into the new A5 at the Strabane end, there is no point building it if the new A5 is not being provided at the far end. Back in February the "Roads" Minister announced that he would be initially proceeding with two stretches of the A5 (Newbuildings to North of Strabane; south of Omagh to Ballygawley). Neither of these included the stretch that this link road will link into. Therefore we have assumed that this scheme will not be going ahead in the near future. Now, two things have recently appeared on an Irish government web site. Firstly this tender for legal services for the N56 "and N14/N15 to A5 Link Road" was awarded to VM McMullin Solicitors of Balybofey on 25 May 2011, but only just published online. But secondly this tender appears to be for futher legal services for land acquisition for the "N14/N15 to A5 Link" only, and was put out to tender on 5 September 2012, with a closing date of 28 September 2012. Why the sudden flurry of interest in acquiring the land for this scheme? (with many thanks to Cormac Ó Murchú for finding these.) Meanwhile, the notes on a DRD meeting held on 3rd September contain the following comment: "ensure the Minister was kept informed of developments regarding the bridge at Strabane and that alternate options were being considered for the associated finance" (emphasis mine). This must surely refer to the N14/N15 to A5 link road, and implies that somehow additional funding has become available by some means to allow its construction. However, this raises another question: Since the link road can't go ahead without the adjacent section of A5, does this mean that a bit more of the A5 is going to be built than previously announced? We will have to wait and see.

9 Nov 2011: The Irish government's decision not to provide £400m for the A5 upgrade until at least 2016 means that this scheme, too, is now on hold. Since it would connect to the upgraded A5, the scheme would serve no purpose without it. Therefore, this scheme is now on the long finger.

8 Oct 2011: It now seems certain that Roads Service and the NRA (in the Republic of Ireland) do indeed plan to press ahead with this scheme at the same time as the main A5 scheme. This was evidenced by the publication of the Direction Order in July 2011. A Direction Order (used in Northern Ireland only) is the legal document that is required to give Roads Service permission to build a new trunk road. It is unclear whether this short link road was included in the A5 Public Inquiry, but since the section inside Northern Ireland is only 79 metres long it would seem wasteful to hold an entirely separate public inquiry for it!

5 June 2011: Further to my previous update, Donegal County Council have now put a PDF of their proposals online. This shows that the link road will consist of a fairly substantial eight span bridge, three of which appear to be arch spans with five beam spans. Most of the bridge traverses the flood plain, as the River Finn itself is not massive. The PDF gives the dates of the environmental impact statement and compulsory purchase order (similar to a Northern Ireland vesting order) as "summer 2011" with construction to take place "2012 onwards". This way this latter date is phrased seems to imply that it will be built concurrently with the construction of the A5 dual-carriageway in Northern Ireland which is also to be built from "2012 onwards". With thanks to Cormac Ó Murchú.

14 May 2011: Donegal County Council have now held a public exhibition of their preferred route (held mid April until 8 May 2011). Unfortunately I can't seem to locate any copies of the proposals online. The official web site for the scheme on the Donegal CoCo web site also says that "the Environmental Impact Statement/ Environmental Statement and Compulsory Purchase Order are expected to be ready for publication by end May 2011." No details of a possible construction date are mentioned.

31 Oct 2010: The financial chaos in the Republic of Ireland has resulted in the plan to upgrade the N14 from Strabane to Letterkenny being "suspended" as of two weeks ago. However, Donegal County Council have now split the Strabane-Lifford link road from this larger scheme and are taking it forward independently because this section is required to link into the proposed A5 dual-carriageway from Derry to Aughnacloy which is being part funded by the Republic of Ireland. As of two weeks ago the latest information was that "Roughan & O’Donovan Consulting Engineers have now been appointed to complete the Design and the Environmental Impact Assessment/Environmental Assessment Report Statutory Processess for the project. It is likely that some amendments will be necessary to the design for the N14 Letterkenny to Lifford/Stabane Scheme and the N15 Lifford to Stranorlar scheme to incorporate the layout of the N14/N15 to A5 Link." With thanks to Cormac O Murchú for letting me know about these changes.

23 Mar 2008: Construction of the scheme had been due to get underway in mid 2008. However, according to the Roads Service report to Strabane Borough Council in Autumn 2007, the scheme is now being reviewed by the authorities both North and South. This is because the scheme is due to tie in to the A5 Strabane Bypass. However, as of summer 2007 a plan is being progressed to upgrade the A5 to dual-carriageway and this will affect the design of the Strabane-Lifford link. Therefore construction is likely to be delayed. Donegal Council Council's web site is now giving a start date of "2013", considerably later than previously believed.