Two local politicians have welcomed confirmation from the Welsh Government that plans for a stand-alone pedestrian crossing for Caersws will be progressed.
After a long campaign for a new pedestrian crossing, Russell George, Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire, and Cllr. Les George, County Councillor for Caersws have welcomed the news, saying that it is a victory for common sense.
In recent months, the Welsh Government has been investigating options to address pedestrian safety concerns at the existing A470 bridge in Caersws.
In 2017, a short trial took place which saw the segregation of vehicles and pedestrians using a single traffic lane with footway under permanent lights. The trial resulted in traffic queuing at both bridge approaches during the day, with 10-15 vehicle queues observed at times during the trial.
The Welsh Government consultation, which closed earlier this year, listed four improvement options including 1) additional signage and road markings; 2) a permanent traffic signal control; 3) a new footbridge attached to the existing grade 2 listed bridge; and 4) a new stand-alone footbridge, which was by far the most popular option.
The Cabinet Secretary for Economy & Transport, who was invited by Mr George to visit Caersws to see the issue for himself, has now confirmed in a letter to Mr George (attached) that the design of the new stand-alone footbridge will now “be progressed this financial year, with future construction costs being considered alongside other priorities across Wales.”
Responding to the news, Russell George AM, who has championed the need for a stand-alone pedestrian crossing, said:
"This announcement represents a major step forward in the campaign to improve pedestrian access over the existing in bridge in Caersws.
“Members of the Caersws Bridge Action Group have been at the heart of the campaign and I’m pleased that their persistence has paid off and we appear to be on the brink of achieving a new stand-alone footbridge for Caersws.
“Initially, it seemed that the Government preferred the option of traffic light controls each side of the bridge, but this option would have caused huge inconvenience and the trial proved that this option simply wouldn’t have worked. I was hugely relieved that this option has now been rejected.
“We can be cautiously optimistic that progress is being made but we mustn’t be complacent and the campaign must continue to ensure that the Welsh Government treat this project as a priority amidst other competing transport priorities across the rest of Wales.”
Cllr. Les George, County Councillor for Caersws, who had urged residents to complete the consultation in an effort to persuade the Government to take forward the option of a new bridge, added:
“Pedestrians including school children have had to dice with death when crossing the current bridge so I am delighted that the Welsh Government appears to have listened to residents and will look to commission a design for a stand-alone footbridge during this financial year.
“I would like to thank local residents who contributed to the consultation and would like to pay tribute to Glynn Cook and campaigners from ‘Safe Access for Everyone’ who have been at the forefront of the long campaign which has resulted in this positive outcome.
"I am very much looking forward to a future which will result in a safer Caersws for all of the village’s pedestrians.”