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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Minister responds to "perfect storm" of local roadworks claim

* Gridlock on Regent Street caused by roadworks on September 17.

A town councillor has received a response from a Welsh Government minister to his complaints that Llangollen has been trapped in the "perfect storm" of roadworks.

Last month Stuart Davies called for national roads bosses to "get their act together" to manage major congestion in the town.

On September 17 roadworks around the retaining wall of the A5 on Queen Street, which are due to last 33 weeks, caused gridlock along Regent Street as heavy Friday afternoon traffic queued in both directions to negotiate the temporary lights set up just after the Birch Hill junction.

Cllr Davies also warned of problems caused by the night-time diversion of traffic through Llangollen from the A483/A5 for maintenance on the viaducts and the disruption by work on the town's own 2020 re-shaping project. 

He said in a statement to llanblogger at the time: "The perfect storm is happening here and now, something I warned about weeks ago."

His recent letter to Welsh Government bosses about this has now prompted a response from Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS.    

Mr Waters says: "Whilst I appreciate your concerns, I can assure you that the recent Temporary Traffic Regulation Order that has been put in place does not mean that the A483 will be permanently closed for the duration of 18 months.

"The Order enables temporary closures to take place as required during the 18 month period, to undertake planned routine cyclic maintenance on the A483 and can also be used reactively in the event of an incident such as following a safety barrier collision or potholes, to allow a repair to take place.

"The most recent temporary closure on the A483 between Ruabon and Halton occurred overnight between 6 and 10 September to allow an investigation of the structural security of the viaducts in the Dee and Ceiriog Valleys. 

"Our agent will not be undertaking any further planned closures of the A483 Junction 1 to Halton Roundabout following the overnight essential structural repairs until the retaining wall repairs to the East of Llangollen and Llangollen 2020 schemes are completed. 

"Details of all planned closures are made available on the Traffic Wales website and I can assure you that our Trunk Road Agent liaises with the local authority when full closures are being planned, to agree the appropriate diversion route for all vehicle types and to plan around any other works that may also be scheduled along the diversion route. 

"With regards to ongoing and planned works in Llangollen it is unfortunate that two schemes will be running concurrently during the remainder of 2021 and early 2022. 

"Due to funding constraints and safety issues, it is necessary that these schemes are completed within the current financial year and North and Mid Wales Road Traffic Agent (NMWTRA) are working in collaboration with Denbighshire County Council to minimise disruption in the area as much as possible. 

"Regular coordination meetings are scheduled between the contractors and traffic management subcontractors for the Llangollen 2020 High Street Improvement and A5 Llangollen Retaining Wall Strengthening schemes. 

"Every effort is being made to phase traffic management on both schemes to minimise disruption to the travelling public."

Mr Waters adds: "NWMTRA is currently considering mitigation measures to ease traffic flows on the A5 in the event of an emergency closure of the A483 necessitating the use of the A5 as an emergency diversion route in addition to currently being operated as a diversionary route following a landslip at Newbridge.

"NMWTRA has instructed the contractor for the retaining wall strengthening scheme to apply temporary removal of the traffic management during such events. The contractor has also been instructed to shorten the length of traffic management whenever possible. 

"With regards to repairs to the B5605 at Newbridge, my officials recently met with Wrexham Council officers to discuss support. We have now received and are currently assessing an application for funding this financial year for ground investigation and detailed design works. These works will inform a future application by the council for funding for construction of the remedial works required. 

"We consider the road space issue is being managed as effectively as possible given the close proximity of the two schemes and the timescale for their completion. 

"However, I recognise the frustrations of the residents of Llangollen and thank them for their patience and understanding to enable NMWTRA to undertake these essential works that will safeguard the travelling public."

Cllr Davies said: "We need our elected Denbighshire County Council representatives to be more pro-active in highlighting concerns such as this and ensuring that our lives are disrupted as little as possible during the works."

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