Work on construction of the long-awaited Cockhill Bridge is due to start within weeks, Joe McHugh, TD and minister of state, said.
The €3 million project will see the construction of the new bridge on the outskirts of Buncrana and new approach roads.
John O'Keeffe, former chairperson of the Cockhill Bridge Action Group, said campaigners were delighted with the news.
The local group formed in 2014 to push for a new bridge, calling the existing bridge too narrow and unsafe, not just for lorries and two-way traffic but particularly for mothers pushing prams and other pedestrians.
The group held protests at County House in Lifford and at the bridge, and gathered thousands of signatures on petitions. They dissolved the group when funding was approved for the bridge.
Mr. O'Keeffe also thanked all the local people who helped with the campaign.
Wills Brothers Civil Engineering Contractors were awarded the construction contract after a tendering process.
Minister McHugh said the bridge and completion of approach roads will be in place by early 2018. “This is great news for Inishowen,” he said.
Cllr John Ryan, chairperson of Donegal County Council's roads strategic policy committee, said hard work had paid off.
“The bridge will be completed within seven months with the other works on approach roads being delivered in the following four or five months,” he said.
The existing bridge will become a pedestrian bridge when the new bridge is completed, local Cllr. Nicholas Crossan said.
He said the bridge serves the busier of the two main routes into Inishowen and every community that uses it knows its importance.
“This is not only for Buncrana, this is for the whole of Inishowen and indeed the greater good of Donegal,” he said.
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