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Fresh call for M4 relief road after travel chaos

  • 30 January 2014
  • By Ashleigh Wight

An accident in the Brynglas Tunnels in Newport which caused rush hour traffic chaos last week has prompted fresh calls for an M4 relief road.

The Federation of Small Businesses in Wales (FSB) said it was concerned about the impact the tunnels were having on hauliers in south Wales, following a tanker and HGV collision which caused tailbacks, and believes there are major flaws in current proposals for a Newport bypass.

Last year the Welsh Government launched a consultation plans for a relief road, which include a complete new build and declassification of the M4. The Freight Transport Association (FTA), however, says that the money would be better spent by upgrading the A48 Southern Distributor Road (SDR) south of Newport, which is also being considered.

Ian Gallagher, policy manager for Wales at the FTA, said: “The SDR needs to be upgraded to a main route. The FTA is not a fan of a new build road because the whole point of the scheme is to create an alternative route.”

FSB’s head of external affairs Lestyn Davies said: “The proposed [new] road, at a cost of more than £1bn, will swallow up so much of the Welsh Government’s road budget that it will leave little money left to tackle other road bottlenecks, such as those on the A55 in North Wales.”

Gallagher said the FTA would not support the development of a scheme funded by tolls, as previously suggested by the Welsh Government, and would consider another toll road in addition to the Severn Crossing “outrageous”.

“Businesses in south Wales already pay a quarter of a million a year in tolls to help pay for road infrastructure. A second toll road will be a tax on doing business,” he said.

Cardiff-based haulier Freight Systems Express (Wales) said is wholeheartedly supports plans for a relief road.

General manager Gethin Worgan said: “An incident, like the one which occurred in the Brynglas Tunnels last week, means that the main transport route effectively grinds to a halt which is unacceptable in this day and age.”

A consultation into the plans closed in December.


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