The schemes survived the chop in the Welsh Government’s road review but there are more hurdles to come
Montgomeryshire’s Member of the Senedd quizzed the First Minister during weekly questions (7th March) over next steps for the road safety improvements at the Moat Lane T-junction in Caersws where the A489 meets the A470, which include plans for a roundabout replacement as well as a linked scheme to build a stand-alone bridge over the river.
The projects avoided the axe as part of a Welsh Government’s review of roadbuilding plans – which put them on hold for nearly two years – but this only means that it is still in play and could still be dropped if ministers in Cardiff Bay disapprove.
On Tuesday, Russell George MS told Mark Drakeford:
“I was pleased that the road improvement scheme in Caersws was not scrapped as part of the recent roads review. This scheme is absolutely crucial to take place; not only for congestion, but there are a number of safety concerns at that point, and sadly, a number of fatalities over a number of years.
“I know, First Minister, you will be aware of this stretch, because you recently travelled to Llandinam, just a few miles up the trunk road.
“There are also plans for a stand-alone footbridge at Caersws over the river, and this scheme is now linked to the road improvement scheme. There are safety concerns at this point as well, because pedestrians have to walk over this stretch of trunk road, where there is no capacity for a footbridge.”
Mr George went on to ask the First Minister to set out Welsh Government’s timetable for both schemes.
The First Minister responded saying he knew that Mr George had been a “consistent advocate of the Caersws scheme”, adding:
“What will happen now is that the scheme will continue to develop, that some of the more recent recommendations that include additional safety and active travel elements will need to be planned into the project, and I’m afraid, like all schemes, it inevitably has to meet the same tests as any other road scheme, and then of affordability.”
Commenting afterwards, George said:
“Whilst I am encouraged that scheme has not been scrapped, we are not out of the woods yet and we must still work to ensure that ministers are satisfied.
“I believe the merits of the scheme and the problems it seeks to rectify speak for themselves and I will continue to lobby for and raise both schemes with Ministers.