CONTROVERSIAL proposals to introduce a one-way system in Usk town centre have been scrapped by Monmouthshire council - but temporary traffic lights will remain in place for the time being.

A trial one-way system, planned to be introduced in July to allow pedestrians to social distance, was swapped for a temporary traffic light system in August – but that too was met with criticism.

Traders and residents said then that lengthy waits at the lights were causing tailbacks on Bridge Street, leading to congestion and “rat running”, with regular scenes of large vehicles meeting in the town’s narrow streets and at tight bends.

There were also reports of drivers jumping the lights, causing faults in the system and adding to frustrations.

At the time the council said the system would be given more time to “see if it can work satisfactorily”. And now it has said it will be introducing ‘smart’ traffic lights that can measure the length of traffic queues and adapt their sequencing according to time delays - and will not continue with the one-way system.

CCTV cameras will also be installed to make sure drivers are not jumping the lights.


Explaining the new system, Monmouthshire council deputy leader Bob Greenland said: “Concerns have been raised about HGVs that have been passing through town despite the 7.5t weight limit.

“To address this, we will be continuing to monitor the situation and are pleased to confirm that there has been a notable decrease in lorries going through the town.

“The combination of the widened walkways combined with a lower speed limit has already improved the safety for pedestrians.

“These temporary measures will remain while the Welsh government continues to require social distancing as an essential part of the prevention of the spread of Covid-19.”

Town councillor Stephen Williams said: “We still get complaints from people jumping the lights and this new system, which we’ve worked with Monmouthshire council to introduce, is a better idea and we hope it will stop speeding on Bridge Street too – which has a 20mph limit.

“While not perfect, changes such as pull-in spaces for businesses on Bridge Street, and parking cones outside the chip shop, have meant less congestion.”