The public inquiry into the proposed M4 project, one of the longest ever run in Wales, has now heard Welsh Government’s closing statement.
Opened in February 2017, views have been heard from those for and against the proposal to build a new 14 mile (23km) six-lane section of motorway south of Newport, including a bridge across the River Usk and major remodelling of junctions 23 and 29 of the M4.
The current M4 route, running north of Newport, is regularly congested particularly where it narrows to two lanes at the Brynglas tunnels.
The inquiry received 319 unique objections out of a total of 6189 and 216 letters of support.
Economy Secretary Ken Skates said:
I have been clear that this inquiry should robustly and openly scrutinise the proposed scheme, the embedded environmental mitigation measures, the Business Case and all objectors‘ suggested alternatives including the Blue Route.
I want to thank all individuals and groups for their involvement in the inquiry. We will now await the independent inspectors report and we expect to be able to make a decision later this year on whether to proceed with construction.
The Inquiry inspectors will now report on their findings to inform Welsh Government’s decision on whether to proceed with construction. Their report will make recommendations to the Welsh Government.
After the Welsh Government has had the opportunity to scrutinise the recommendations, the government has confirmed it will bring forward a debate in the National Assembly for Wales on the scheme.
If the decision is made to go ahead with the project, construction could start around the end of this year and the new section of motorway could be open by the end of 2023.