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Proposed Mountain Ash Southern Cross Valley Link is it fit for purpose?

Having looked at the proposed proposal on the Internet and attended the exhibition in Mountain Ash for the Southern Cross Valley Link.

The proposed small stretch of highway and new bridge spanning the River Cynon and the main railway line that runs through Cynon Valley; regular commuters who travel the A4095 have been waiting many many years for this to happen.


The question, what is proposed is the layout planned fit for purpose?


The question was asked, why are there no roundabouts at each end of the proposed new link.

The answer, statistics show traffic lights give the best traffic flow.


Rhondda Cynon Taf Council proposed layout show a standard traffic lights system, what it doesn’t show is a northern dedicated left turn lane off the A4059 for traffic to just turning left without waiting at a set of lights thus helping traffic flows northward at peak times in the evening.


Southbound traffic on the A4059 at morning peak times, again traffic lights reduce traffic Flow. Why is there no dedicated southbound lane through the traffic lights with a filter lane for traffic joining from the right?


You may recall Rhondda Cynon Taf Council spending thousands on adjusting traffic lights on the old bridge and A4059 that was to improve traffic flows, we were informed, but it didn’t work. Traffic still builds up on the A4059 but now we also have build up of traffic in Mountain Ash Town. The increased traffic in the town is a nuisance to shoppers and traders.


Traffic pollution from vehicle exhaust emissions must have also increased seriously for pedestrians, shoppers and workers in Mountain Ash Town.


Why has Labour controlled Rhondda Cynon Taf Council chosen traffic lights? Why not have a large roundabout with northern dedicated left turn lane off the A4059 for traffic to just turn left without waiting at a set of lights?


The Highways Department at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council need to get this right! The link road and bridge has been over 30 years in the pipeline, it was on the 15th of December 1966 when traffic bottlenecks at Mountain Ash was first mentioned by Arthur Probert MP for Cynon Valley at that time.


We all know traffic in Cynon Valley will increase as more and more housing developments get approval from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council. Slightly less of a priority 30 years ago was the Northern Cross Valley link road and bridge. But now 30 years on and traffic queuing from Mountain Ash traffic lights as far back as Cwmbach on some days, there is a need for this development to proceed.

As we say,

“Increases in housing development for commuters traveling south along the A4059”


But as Labour leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council says,

“No need for northern bridge and data supports that. I'm sure you don't want £10m wasted”


Not forgetting data also supported tinkering with traffic lights on Mountain Ash Bridge intersection would stop queuing traffic on the A4059 but it didn’t.


Northern Cross Valley Link a Highway Infrastructure has got to be an improvement with all the future developments planned for Cynon Valley. Developers that don’t contribute to major highway infrastructure just do very little to obtain consent for development, then the council tax and taxpayers end up picking up the bill for major works due to congested roads.


Cynon Valley is fast becoming a dormitory for Cardiff with Merthyr getting better quality facilities not only retail outlets but jobs and better road links, unlike commuters from Cynon Valley who have to travel out of the valley to find employment.


Is there a start or completion date for the Southern Cross Valley Link? We believe all funding for the project is not in place as yet? The election is due on May 4th 2017 and labour wants your vote again! How many of you have lost count of how many elections the labour party have been rolling this project out promising this? Just like the land once occupied by the Phurnacite plant, the Aberdare Bypass and the extension to the railway line to Hirwaun, to name just a few of the false promises.

What pressure has the leader of Plaid Cymru in RCT placed on the Labour administrationPrimary tabs

Stopping at the temporary traffic lights on the A4059 in Mountain Ash I observed  group of people looking towards the proposed Southern Cross Valley link road, perhaps they were deliberating a start and completion date or are they keeping that announcement closer to the May 4.  

Below taken from a Plaid Cymru Group press release 

Cynon Valley Councillor Pauline Jarman, Leader of the Plaid Cymru Group in RCT commented:

“Because of the relentless pressure from Plaid Cymru Councillors Cynon Valley and other parts of the County has benefitted from significant investment in highways like the Southern Cross Valley link in Mountain Ash as well as free and reduced town centre car parking arrangements. We have our finger on the pulse of public opinion and have a strong record of effectively holding the Council to account.”


AberdareOnline would ask the question what pressure has the leader of Plaid Cymru in RCT placed on the Labour administration to get the Southern Cross Valley link in Mountain Ash constructed?


The question is when Plaid was running RCTC they did nothing to improve traffic flows through Mountain Ash why?


At the moment the Labour controlled RCT Council have been working on the A4059, It would seem RCT Council like wasting ratepayer’s money, just a few years ago they altered the road junction at Troed-Y-Rhiw Road Mountain Ash making no provision for north bound traffic to turn right into Troed-Y-Rhiw Road.

What was constructed at the junction a few years ago has been ripped out and the traffic junction is being altered again and RCT ratepayers having to pay again for something that should have been considered in the first place. RCT Council pay large amounts of ratepayer’s money to organisations and consultants, who specialise in highway strategy, do you consider RCT ratepayer’s getting value for money?  

Following on from the above posting RCTC has put out a further publication regarding the proposed Southern Cross Valley Link but still no start or completion date.


Anyone who follows AberdareOnline will know we have been pushing for the Labour controlled Council and Assembly and Welsh Government concerning major road improvements throughout Cynon Valley.


It would appear the funding from the Assembly for the project is coming to RCT piecemeal, drip-feeding the voter’s in an attempt to buy votes.


Lets not forget at the same time the Mountain Ash Southern Cross Valley Link was proposed the Mountain Ash Northern Cross Valley Link was also required,

Labour controlled RCTC are not pushing for Northern Cross Valley Link saying it is a waste of public money.


Traffic on the A4059 is now queuing from Mountain Ash to Cwmbach at peak times, how many of our local councilors have to travel out of Cynon Valley daily?

Further Funding Announced for Cross Valley LinkMountain Ash’s Cross Valley Link project is set to take another step forward, thanks to the Welsh Government once again showing its support by releasing a further £351,000 funding.

The recent announcement comes months after the Welsh Government awarded Rhondda Cynon Taf Council £300,000 to carry out investigation works at the site – which brings their total investment in the scheme to £651,000. This funding is in addition to the Council’s £2m funding that was allocated by Cabinet in December and £1.95m that was allocated in 2015 as part of its wider 26.5m Highways, Transportation, Infrastructure and Strategic Projects (HTISP) programme. This brings total investment allocated to date for this important scheme to £4.601m.

Plans of the vital bridge and associated improvements that will help to link the A4059 and the Mountain Ash communities have now been submitted for approval and are set to go before the Council’s planning committee shortly.

This much needed scheme has been in the pipeline for many years and is now forging ahead thanks in part to the recent funding announcement from the Welsh Government and the RCTinvest programme.

The investment forms part of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s wider £200m RCTinvest programme, which is supporting key priority areas such as Leisure and Outdoor Leisure Facilities, Play Areas, Highways and Structures, Transport Infrastructure, Flood Alleviation, Schools, Recycling Facilities, Housing and Town and Village Centres, with investment.

Subject to planning approval, the major traffic project in the Cynon Valley will see a bridge built over the river and railway in Mountain Ash, linking communities with the main A4059 road by the end of 2019.

Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, Councillor Andrew Morgan, who is also Cabinet Member for Highways, said:

“The recent funding announcement is welcome and demonstrates  Welsh Government’s support for the project that has been an aspiration in the Cynon Valley for many years and is now, finally, a reality.

 “It is thanks to our strategic approach that we have been able to secure funding to deliver this scheme.

 “As a result of the £3.95m funding put forward by the Council and the £651,000 Welsh Government funding, we are now developing this scheme in detail to take the project forward and we have already seen significant activity taking place on site throughout 2016.

“Following the comprehensive traffic surveys and analysis that have taken place over the last year, we have been able to evidence that this proposal has the potential to reduce congestion on the key junctions in the area and reduce journey times on strategic and local routes.

“The analysis that has been undertaken has considered current and future traffic scenarios to simulate traffic levels.

“It anticipates that the bridge will carry over 1,700 vehicles in each of the morning and afternoon peak hours in 2030.

“Plans have now been submitted and if accepted the Council will look to award a contractor as soon as possible to ensure works start as planned during 2018.”

Subject to planning permission and Compulsory Purchase of third party land, construction works are set to start in late 2018 and will link traffic from the A4059 to the B4257 at Miskin Road on the other side of the river in Mountain Ash – near the Baileys Arms pub and Glyngwyn Street. The new bridge will stretch from the Cwm Cynon Industrial Estate over the Afon Cynon River and the train line between Mountain Ash and Penrhiwceiber.

Preparatory works continue this month with further ground investigation works scheduled to be carried out adjacent to the track in the vicinity of the proposed bridge. Following discussions with Network Rail it has been agreed that the works will take place at night so as not to disrupt train services.

The works will take place from 8pm on Saturday 11 February (NB there will be no disruption to train services in the area) to 9am on Sunday 12 February. Further works will then be carried out from 10pm on Saturday 18 February to 5.30am on Sunday 19 February and at the same time for subsequent nights for a maximum of 7 nights (up to the morning of Sunday 26 February).

Last year, the following works were carried out:

  • Topographic/Drainage/Utilities surveys
  • Ground Investigation
  • Ecology
  • Highways Design
  • Structures Design
  • Landscape Design
  • Flood Consequences Assessment
  • Compulsory Purchase Order preparatory works

These works have captured the technical data needed which will now inform technical analyses and generate reports which will help inform final scheme designs and mitigation measures.

For updates on RCTinvest follow the Council on twitter - @RCTCouncil, or like the Council’s facebook page - Rhondda Cynon Taf Council

Posted on Friday 10th February 2017