The M4 relief road has not yet been built

I suppose that any incident that closes the section of the M4 through the Brynglas tunnels is like a red rag to those few people who still want to see a new motorway built on the Gwent Levels parallel to the M4, and I must thank Oggy Bloggy Ogwr for repeating the points I made before in this post about why it was such a bad idea and why the Welsh Government was right to reject it in 2009.

But I would emphasize one point, which is that there is a problem on that section of the M4, and that a relief road is needed both to provide a better alternative for local traffic that passes through Newport and to increase the resilience of the M4 on the rare occasions when it is closed because of an accident. However, there is all the difference in the world between a relief road and a new parallel motorway.

When Ieuan Wyn Jones made the decision not to proceed with the new motorway, he also made the decision to improve the Southern Distributor Road and the road serving the Llanwern steelworks in order to provide this much needed alternative, as shown below. Click the map for an enlarged version.


As yet these improvements haven't been made, we are still in the process of consultation. But when these improvements have been implemented, this relief road will provide an alternative which will very much reduce the impact and delays resulting from the sort of closure we have just seen.

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Glyndo said...

I hate to be a wet blanket, but I don't think it would make any real difference. The relief road joins the SDR which was already available for diverted traffic, and quickly bottled up. The relief road would only make a difference if there was a problem between Magor and the Coldra. Sorry!

Anonymous said...

SDR upgrade would be a major step forward. However, I do notice the Bryn Glas tunnels are always free of traffic at 0300hrs in the morning, and there is a very high proportion of road freight that uses this stretch of the M4, a major part of peak traffic. Herein lies an opportunity. I suggest variation of Severn bridge toll charges for HGVs. More expensive at peak times, and toll free at night. This is how loading is managed at the Dartford crossing of the Thames. Also, a report published this year by the Planning Inspectorate in England on the Humber Bridge found that HGV traffic was very sensitive to toll price, with haulers adjusting timings of trips. If we have to suffer the burden of tolls on the Severn Bridge, at least the Sec of State could allow us to use these tolls to optimise capacity on this stretch of the M4. Longer distance HGV traffic could be significantly reduced through the Bryn Glas tunnels by manipulation of Severn Bridge tolls and possibly introduce a 'stacking' system for breaks at Llanwern. Do you have any stats on the type of traffic at peak times?

MH said...

The plan includes improvements to the SDR, particularly junction improvements to allow traffic through more smoothly, Glyndo.

That sounds like a good idea, Anon. There's some information on traffic levels in the consultation documents. Another thing to aim for will be to take HGV traffic off the roads and onto rail ... and that goes for passenger traffic too.

Hendre said...

Getting HGVs to travel at night? Isn't that's how the Romans managed things - carts had to wait until dusk before entering Rome's city precincts? (And we could do with that in Cardiff City Centre.)

Unknown said...

Zurich Canton only allows lorry deliveries to shops at night. Very civilised.

Anonymous said...

"More expensive at peak times, and toll free at night"

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