No start date for the Aberdare Bypass
Cabinet Members have supported plans by the Welsh Government for its major dualling scheme on the A465 Heads of the Valleys road, by 2022.
An Officer report to Cabinet’s meeting on October 3 recommended Members support the major project, to dual a 17.7km section of the A465 from Hirwaun to Dowlais Top. This is an important scheme as part of Welsh Government’s strategic road network, and integral to the development of economic opportunities for Rhondda Cynon Taf and the wider Cardiff Capital Region.
During September 2017, Cabinet agreed to develop five Strategic Opportunity Areas in Rhondda Cynon Taf, outlined for economic growth and job creation. The Cynon Gateway was one of these areas, and the A465 dualling scheme was recognised as a key infrastructure project to unlock the area’s potential.
The project will be the final stage of dualling on the A465 route, to improve the road’s capacity and traffic flow during peak hours, and reduce journey times. It will improve connectivity between Rhondda Cynon Taf, West Wales and the Midlands – giving residents increased access to employment in the region.
Cabinet was given a progress update on the scheme at Wednesday’s meeting. In August 2017 an Amendment Order, Environmental Statement, and Statement to Inform and Appropriate Assessment were published. A decision on the Local Public Enquiry, held in April 2018, is expected shortly.
As a result of the Council working with Welsh Government, the scheme will include an additional junction on the A465 at Croesbychan. This will facilitate the Council’s future Cynon Valley Gateway North scheme – which has Welsh Government support. This project will develop and construct an extension of the Aberdare Bypass in the future, providing a new link to the A4059.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways, said: “Cabinet Members have given their support to this regionally-important scheme, which will see the Heads of the Valleys road from Hirwaun to Dowlais Top dualled by 2022 – to further improve the Welsh Government’s strategic A465 route.
“Council officers from a number of departments have been working closely with Welsh Government, and its technical advisor for this scheme, since 2015 – relating to the proposed work within Rhondda Cynon Taf’s boundary. This is in order to mitigate any impact on communities, the transportation network and the environment – focusing on key benefits for the County Borough. This includes the future delivery of the Aberdare Bypass extension, for which the Council has Welsh Government support.
“The Council continues to invest in its highways as a priority through #RCTinvest, which has seen £91m funding for Highways and Transportation schemes over the last seven years. In 2018/19, the Council is delivering its £23.6m Highways Capital Programme – which follows a £20m investment in the service area last year. To complement this, the Council is also working hard to secure external investment to help fund local schemes.
“Following Cabinet’s approval earlier this year, the Council will dual a 1.3km section of the A4119 at Coed Ely in the future. This is a vital project for the Rhondda Gateway – another of the Council’s Strategic Opportunity Areas – for which the Council allocated £1m funding in October 2017.”