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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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Summary

Project status: planned
Region: south-east Wales
Start date: end of 2020
End date: 2024
Cost: capital cost of construction approximately £500m (2019 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.

A Public Inquiry was held into the draft statutory Orders between April and May 2018.

Following the Public Inquiry, the Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales decided to proceed with this scheme and make the draft Orders. The Orders came into force in April 2019.

As a result of further input from stakeholders, we have made some design improvements and published draft supplementary Orders in September 2019. The Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales has considered the response to the supplementary Orders and has agreed they should be made.

We are coming to the end of the process to appoint a private sector partner to help us deliver the scheme. This process will be finished in October 2020.

Construction is programmed to start at the end of 2020 and we expect the scheme to take approximately 3.5 years to build.

Timetable

Public exhibitions: end 2015
Publication of draft orders and environmental statement: summer 2017
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
Publish Supplementary Orders:  autumn 2019
Procure contractor: autumn 2020
Start of construction: end 2020
Completion of new section of trunk road: mid 2024

Next steps

A small second set of Supplementary Orders will be published in July 2020.

The private sector partner will be appointed in October 2020.

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 run a series of presentations to local interest groups and meetings with local landowners, businesses and other key stakeholders. 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

We held a Public Local Inquiry in April and May 2018.

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.

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