Agenda item

Update on A466 Closure


The Head of Operations provided an update that the timescale initially provided had been exceeded.  It was hoped that the road would be re-opened on 19th July but the latest forecast is 2nd August.  If there is any change likely, information will be provided by e mail to Members and Community Councils.


Discussions are ongoing with engineers, consultant engineers and the contractor to clarify the latest position.  The contractor is working every day and have considered the feasibility of double shifts but the availability of specialist crews is difficult to arrange.  An alternative proposal is to reduce the number of bore holes to facilitate netting.  There has, however, been incidence of collapses of fissures and drill breakages due to the nature of the rock.  These issues are being resolved.

The overall aim remains to complete and leave the site as soon as possible.  The negative impact on residents and business is fully appreciated. 


Residents and Business Owner questions and comments:


·         It was questioned why the 45° solution had been used on the second part of the closure but not on the existing section. Frustration was expressed that this matter has been going on for 3 years with the consequent bad effect on businesses (The Rectory)

·         The Wye Valley Hotel described the effect of the works on business, questioned plans for the second closures and why the works couldn’t be completed in February when business is quiet.  It was responded that the second phase is scheduled for January (the officer agreed to check the timings).

·         It was commented that the Welsh translations of signage are confusing drivers but explained that this is a legal requirement.  The quantity and quality of signs was questioned.

·         County Councillor Webb, on behalf of the authority apologised to residents and businesses for the situation referring to the reliance on contractors adding that it was not feasible to stop work and temporarily move the equipment unfortunately.

·         A member of the public raised a question about the survey and was unsurprised to see limestone shatters, was concerned that the work was two weeks late starting and that netting and equipment wasn’t in place ready.  Assurance was sought that the remedial action will be safe and permanent.  The Officer explained that the delayed permits were due to the ecology of the area and confirmed that the surveys consultant engineers understood from the outset that there were risks.  Unfortunately there had been greater problems than expected.  Referring to the unexpected severity of fractured limestone, it was confirmed that the engineers were suitably experienced for the work but the scenario encountered was worse than experienced anywhere else previously.

·         A member of the public reiterated the inconvenience to residents and businesses adding the frustration caused by the St Arvans diversions.  It was queried what steps would be taken to compensate businesses that can prove loss of money.  Regarding the survey, it was confirmed that the information gathered was as good as it could be at that time.  The Officer apologised for the length of the works commenting that the second scheme should be easier. It was clarified that business rates are governed by Welsh Government and the authority just collects them.  Information was provided that there is a compensation scheme to apply for rate rebates that requires evidence of loss of business.  It was agreed that the local Member will provide details of how and where to apply.  The Cabinet Member will also investigate if there is an opportunity for all businesses to apply at the same time.

·         It was complained that the authority should not be investing out of county.  It was confirmed that there was no budget connection to this scheme and clarified that investment in property is via prudential borrowing that contributes to revenue services thus relieving the burden on council tax


The Officer was thanked for his input to the meeting.