A466 Wye Valley Road Safety Improvement Scheme: Welsh Government, South Wales Trunk Road Agent and Atkins Consultants.
Mark Emmett, Welsh Government, Area Manager, Network Management Division and Phillip Evans, Atkins were welcomed to the meeting.
The Chair read out a message from a Committee Member unable to attend:
‘If there is any further representation to be made on the A466, then I would like for all the laybys to be closed and appropriate park and ride/travel facilities to be found elsewhere.
I would like the road to be duelled in both directions, as I think in its present format is fundamentally unsafe. In that duelling, an appropriate central reservation or barrier be erected.
Also, if there is anyone from WG or SWTRA in attendance, they need to regularly clean both sides of the laybys as the litter and rubbish there is dreadful. So more bins and regular cleaning until the fundamental road restructuring is done.’
The Welsh Government representative explained that collection of litter was the responsibility of local authority not Welsh Government.
It was explained that Atkins had been commissioned to look at options, and with Welsh Government considered:
· A dual carriageway but it was difficult to form a highway compliant scheme and was also cost prohibitive.
· Improvements to the Newhouse Interchange proposing the extension of the two lane exit. Traffic would still merge and there would be a 40mph speed limit on the slip roads.
· Public Rights of Way diverted to cut down pedestrian movements.
· 50mph speed limit with average speed camera system along its length
· Prohibition of U Turns between roundabouts
· Clearway on road not laybys
A Member was opposed to all day parking in laybys and it was also stated that the Public Right of Way between Mathern to Bulwark is regularly in use. Clarification was sought about a Clearway proposal and the effect on parking. It was also questioned how a change to the speed limit would affect the backlog on the motorway.
It was responded that there is no problem with closing laybys or imposing waiting restrictions but it would move the parking issue (including lorries) elsewhere in residential areas.
A Member was in favour of not closing the laybys, had no problem with the revised speed limit from 60 to 50mph or the 40mph at the roundabout. He requested that the white lining is revised as it is confusing.
A Member suggested that research suggests that moving from 60mph to 40mph speed limit would be more likely to prevent a fatal accident.
Considering High Beech roundabout, it was agreed that there are queues back to the slip road at peak times. There are confusing speed limits between 30/40mph leading to the roundabout for which consistency would be preferred.
A Member of the public acknowledged the parking issues in the laybys but raised the need for parking to be available for those sharing cars to travel to Bristol and also the need for regulatory rest stops for lorries, suggesting that England and Wales need to work together.
Discussions with Highways England regarding lack of lorry stops has resulted in looking at long term parking as the motorway services have limited space.
The Chair was pleased with the proposals under consideration and was assured that there would be no prejudice to the outcomes of the Capita Transport Study as these are two separate pieces of work.