Newport M4 relief road inquiry delayed
The Welsh Assembly Government has delayed its inquiry into a relief road for the M4 bottleneck north of Newport for up to five months, citing changes at the Department for Transport as the cause.
Proposals put forward in March have suggested alternative stretches of motorway, a £1bn project bypassing the overcrowded two-lane section through the Brynglas Tunnels, north of Newport – the through-route from the Severn crossings to Cardiff, Swansea and South West Wales.
An inquiry, looking at the available options and giving a chance for objections to be put forward, was to begin on the 1st November, lasting five months.
In a statement, the Welsh Assembly Government said this could now be delayed until the end of March, pending a review as a result of the Department for Transport introducing new methodology for forecasting traffic growth “without consultation”.
Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, said the project was still expected to be completed in 2021: “I am well aware of the views of those opposed to the project. The Inquiry would allow these views to be heard, and outside of that process I am keen to explore all opportunities for reducing negative impacts and maximising cross-cutting benefits of this major investment for Wales.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson added: “We keep our traffic forecasts under review and made clear to Welsh officials at the start of this year we were going to update our projections. We are committed to working closely with the Welsh government and encourage them to deliver this project which will improve journeys for drivers.”