FIVE options are being considered by the Welsh Government to alleviate traffic problems in and around Chepstow, its Minister for Transport has said.
In a letter, Edwina Hart AM told the town’s assembly member, Nick Ramsay, that a new bypass is one option open to the Welsh Government.
Other possible measures that could be taken include restricting turning at the Bulwark junction; reviewing traffic signals at the junction by Chepstow’s Tesco supermarket; banning lorries from driving over the Wye Bridge; or incorporating a toll system and changing the High Beech Roundabout.
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said a decision on a way forward is expected to be made this summer.
Mr Ramsay said of the plans: “As has been reported in the press recently, traffic congestion in Chepstow has become a very serious issue, causing gridlock and tailbacks through the town centre. Whenever there is a breakdown or accident, the Mount Pleasant/Hardwick Hill area suffers chaos, with resulting pollution issues.
“There is an urgent need for engagement between the Welsh Government, county and town councils to try to find both a short and long term solution to the increasing traffic problems in the town.
“The minister is continuing to assess the impact and costs for each of the suggested options and has promised to let me know the outcome of the findings. Let’s hope it won’t be to long before an effective solution is found.”
And a Thornwell resident who uses the Bulwark Road turning frequently said a change to the turning onto Hardwick Hill would be welcome. Guy Greening, who lives on Cidermill Close, said the problems on roads into Chepstow are a daily occurrence. But he added that a bypass would be something he would support – something that has already been publicly backed by a number of Chepstow politicians.
Councillor Peter Farley, who sits on Monmouthshire county and Chepstow town councils, called for a bypass plan to be moved forward in May after a lorry broke down on Hardwick Hill and caused significant traffic delays.
And Cllr Paul Pavia, Chepstow town councillor for Larkfield, said in May that work must be undertaken soon because any plan could take years to put into action.
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “We recognise the importance of the A48 in Chepstow both as a gateway to Wales and a vital link for local businesses and tourism.
“The five options mentioned in the letter were those most often identified, by local residents, as potential measures to address local safety and air quality concerns during a recent consultation exercise.
“We are currently working with Monmouthshire County Council, Chepstow Town Council and interested parties to consider these options and we expect to make a decision on a way forward this summer.”