Wrexham Council is eagerly awaiting the outcome of the Welsh Roads Review, with the future upgrades of A483 junctions set to to be decided.
Cllr David A Bithell confirmed he had sent a letter to Welsh Government, and had made ‘lots of representation’ on the issue, with a hope that the case for improvements locally would mean works proceed.
The works have been on the cards for several years, delayed by the pandemic, with Ken Skates MS announcing back in 2018 funding for congestion improvements.
More recently this year a long option assessment saw ‘preferred routes’ published after consultations took place – with Welsh Government saying that the plans for the bypass “would improve access into Wrexham, improve journey times and provide new active travel links for local residents. The proposals being presented can be constructed and delivered with minimal impact on existing traffic.”
Welsh Government are conducting a roads review, with the A483 junction work on the lists, “to reduce Wales’s carbon footprint to protect people and wildlife from the climate emergency” with a roads review panel convened to assess the lists.
In September the panel said their review had been completed with a ‘comprehensive and detailed piece of work’ submitted back to Welsh Government.
Cllr Bithell said, “We did challenge the the Deputy Minister Lee Waters on the road review. An independent panel was set up to look up the road review, to review the robustness of the business cases that local authorities across Wales have submitted. The minister has made it quite clear that he will make a decision in the next few weeks – that was a couple of weeks ago. So it is imminent as far as I’m aware.
“Where that impacts us is whether they fund the A483 junction improvements in Wrexham.
“We’ve made strong representation for the last 12 months that we do need the improvements. Despite the climate emergency, there’s a number of active travel measures as well as part of that infrastructure improvements. It would be a boost the economy in Wrexham and create growth as well.So we are in their hands and waiting for the announcements, which we hope is positive.
Cllr Mark Pritchard said, “I would be very disappointed and angry with the Welsh Government if they reneged on the promise that the A483 infrastructure improvements would be done, that was out there, they gave a commitment that the work would be done. So we would be very disappointed if they went in another direction on this.”
Cllr Bithell added, “I’m sure there’ll be some road schemes across Wales that will fall by the wayside. We hope it’s not one of ours.
“You can’t just say we are not building a new road ever and we are going to put it all into public transport, you’ve got to have a mixture of both and you’ve also got to have a mixture of active travel as well. So I hope the Welsh Government look at it in a proper logical way.”
In late September Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, said he is considering the Roads Review report and recommendations – alongside advice from officials and “intends to publish the panel’s report and my decision once this process is complete, later in the autumn”