Economy and Transport Minister Ken Skates has announced the preferred options to replace the only 2 roundabouts on the A55 with upgraded junctions.
Having taken full account of the technical, social, economic and environmental aspects of the scheme and listened carefully to the consultation responses, Option D has been selected as the preferred route to replace the roundabout at Junction 15 Llanfairfechan and Option A for Junction 16 Penmaenmawr and Dwygyfylchi.
Option D would provide movement on and off the A55 in 4 directions, 2 eastbound and 2 westbound, at junction 15 by utilising an overbridge with a T-junction to the north of the A55 and a priority junction to the south of the existing roundabout. The slip roads on the north would be raised locally to allow the bridge to pass over the A55.
As outlined in the public consultation and exhibitions, all options for junction 15 would directly impact properties in the area. Further work was carried out on Option D following comments received during the public consultation meaning fewer properties than initially anticipated, now 3 properties consisting of ten flats in total, would be wholly affected. A further 2 buildings containing 6 flats in its entirety are also at risk subject to further surveys. Welsh Government officials will work closely with tenants and the local authority to mitigate the impact of property demolition.
For Junction 16, Option A would provide a 4-way movement, replacing junction 16A. The roundabout at junction 16 would be removed and replaced by westbound on and off slip roads. The junction 16A arrangement would include an overbridge and slip roads would be constructed on raised embankments. A new link road would be constructed, running parallel to the A55, linking back into Ysguborowen Road.
The WelTAG appraisal concluded that both options were the best performing when measured against the project objectives and the WelTAG criteria.
A public information exhibition will take place this summer to display and explain the preferred options as well as the following stages. More information on these will take place will be announced shortly.
The next steps of the scheme will be to develop the preliminary design, which considers environmental and engineering matters in further detail, taking account of the comments made during public consultation. This comprises of a more detailed review of the preferred options in consultation with stakeholders which includes local people.
Junctions 15 and 16 are the only 2 roundabouts on the mainline of the Trans-European Transport Network Euroroute E22 which runs between Moscow and Dublin. Transport studies undertaken along the length of A55 have highlighted that these roundabouts have a negative impact on this network corridor.
Welsh Government investment, including £26 million of EU funding, to replace these roundabouts with junctions will improve journey times and safety as well as strengthen the A55’s resilience. Construction could start in 2021.
Ken Skates said:
“The Junctions 15 and 16 improvement scheme is an important part of our plans to improve North Wales transport infrastructure. It is also another excellent example of how Wales benefits from EU funds.
“The A55 is a key route which connects North Wales with the rest of Europe and the world and improving its resilience and safety as well as providing better journey times and reducing delays is vital.
“It is clear the current roundabouts affect average speeds along the A55 where vehicles need to slow down through the junction and then accelerate on exiting. Due to traffic volumes on the A55, access from Llanfairfechan, Penmaenmawr and Dwygyfylchi through the roundabouts is also difficult and queues are a regular occurrence. The preferred options I am announcing today would remove these difficulties.
“Furthermore the new layout would improve access to regional, national and international markets which is imperative as the UK leaves the European Union.
“We will engage closely with residents affected by today’s announcement to mitigate any impact and ensure they remain a major part of the next stages which is vital in developing the scheme further.
“Over the coming years, the Welsh Government is investing hundreds of millions of pounds in transport infrastructure in the region which will deliver an economic boost, improve links for communities and deliver a modern day road network.”