We are converting the A465 from Dowlais Top to Hirwaun to 2 lanes in each direction.

First published:
28 September 2017
Last updated:

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Project status: planned
Region: south-east Wales
Start date: end of 2019
End date: 2022
Cost: capital cost of construction approximately £400m (2016 prices)
Advisers: Jacobs (technical advisers), DLA Piper (legal advisers), PWC (financial advisers), Willis (insurance advisers).

What we are doing

We are converting the A465 from Dowlais Top to Hirwaun to 2 lanes in each direction.

Flythrough west to east 

Flythrough east to west


Why we are doing it

The existing A465 was built in the 1960s and is a single three lane carriageway with two lanes in the uphill direction and one in the downhill direction. A regional traffic study in 1990 identified the need to improve this road.

The width of the road restricts traffic flow and opportunities for safe overtaking. In many areas there is poor visibility. Accidents on this stretch are concentrated around junctions and areas with poor visibility.

This improvement to the A465 is critical to the social and economic regeneration of the Heads of the Valleys area. It will improve access to key services, jobs and markets supporting inward investment to areas such as the Ebbw Vale Enterprise Zone.

Current progress

In 1994 the Secretary of State for Wales consulted the public on alternatives for improving the 40km length of the A465 between Abergavenny and Hirwaun. In July 1995 he announced his preferred route, which consisted of widening the existing road to provide a dual two-lane carriageway with some sections off the existing line of the road.

In 1997 a draft line order was published. The line order was then made in June 1999 following a public local inquiry in 1998. The project was divided into 7 sections (later reduced to 6) to enable a phased delivery.

We appointed Jacobs in October 2015 to develop the design, produce an environmental impact assessment of the length between Dowlais Top and Hirwaun and take the scheme through the statutory process and seek the powers to build the road.

We have completed the outline design development and have published new plans. We have reviewed and improved the original design. We have commissioned independent consultants to review environmental, structural, geotechnical, engineering and traffic modelling aspects of the design.

We have also inspected the condition of existing structures on the A465 that we intend to keep as part of the new section of the A465. We developed the project in enough detail to publish draft statutory orders and environmental statement in July 2017. They set out the land considered necessary to construct the project and assess the impact it would have on the surrounding environment.

Due to objections received to the draft statutory orders from July 2017, amendments to the proposed design have been made. As a result, draft supplementary side road and compulsory purchase orders an associated supplementary environmental statement were published on 7 March 2018.

Copies of these documents are available for inspection, during normal office hours at the following locations:

  • Orders Branch, Welsh Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ
  • Dowlais Library, Church Street, Dowlais, CF48 3HS
  • Hirwaun Library, High Street, Hirwaun, CF44 9SW
  • Cefn Coed Community Centre, Old Drill Hall Road, Cefn Coed, Merthyr Tydfil, CF48 2NA
  • Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council Offices Civic Centre, Castle Street, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 8AN
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council Offices, The Pavilions, Cambrian Park, Clydach Vale, Tonypandy, CF40 2XX
  • Caerphilly County Borough Council offices, Penallta House, Tredomen Park, Ystrad Mynach, Hengoed, CF82 7PG
  • Brecon Beacons National Park Offices, Plas y Ffynnon, Cambrian Way, Brecon, LD3 7HP.

Following the Public Inquiry, the Minister for Economy and Transport has decided to proceed with this scheme and make the draft orders. 


Public exhibitions: end 2015
Publication of draft orders and environmental statement: summer 2017
Pre-inquiry meeting: early 2018
Publication of draft supplementary orders and supplementary environmental statement: early 2018
Public local inquiry: spring 2018
Minister's decision: early 2019
Making of Orders: spring 2019
Procure contractor: early 2020
Start of construction: early 2020
Completion of new section of trunk road: end 2023

Next steps

Arrangements will be made to make the draft orders. 

How we are consulting

We consulted on improvements to the A465 between Abergavenny and Hirwaun in 1994 as part of the process to develop the preferred route for the whole project.

We held public information exhibitions in December 2015. At these events we presented the 1990s design and highlighted areas where we are considering options to improve this design.

We have been running a series of presentations to local interest groups and meetings with local landowners and businesses. We have used these to gather information on and understand how the proposals fit with local priorities, objectives and policies.

We held a series of draft orders exhibitions in August 2017.

Find out more

We have appointed a dedicated public liaison officer for the project. If you have a concern or query you can contact Chris Meredith on 07497 894081 or email him at: christopher.meredith2@jacobs.com.

You can find out more information on the local inquiry on the Persona Associates website (external link).