Maesycwmmer road delays put lives at risk, say Plaid Cymru
Welsh Transport Minister Carl Sargeant has been accused by Plaid Cymru councillors of putting lives at risk by refusing to fund a third phase of improvements as part of new Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr scheme.
Plaid councillor Rob Gough, a former cabinet member for highways at Caerphilly County Borough Council, said emergency vehicles were regularly held-up because of congestion in Maesycwmmer.
Councillor Gough said that lobbying by ward councillor Robin Woodyatt and AM Gwyn Price had influenced the Minister not to finance a scheme which would have improved traffic flows through the village.
He said: “This decision was as a result of complaints made to them by the action committee of around 50 residents even though 25,000 vehicles a day pass through Maesycwmmer. The action committee through their local councillor made it quite clear that they do not want any improvement works carried out to the highway through Maesycwmmer.”
Councillor Gough added: “When the funding was originally agreed by the Welsh Government the cost was £15.6m, made up of £9m transport grant and £6.6m contribution from a 106 legal agreement with the Aneurin Bevan Health Board.
“The Welsh Government approved the four phases of the scheme but made it quite clear that the funding for phase three which is the improvement of the highway through Maesycwmmer could be met if all of the other three phases came either on budget or under budget. Due to the good management of the project by Caerphilly County Borough officers the targets were met.
“There is no reason at all for the funding for phase three not to be released by the Minister and his decision is nothing short of being fool-hardy and dangerous. Due to the traffic congestion through Maesycwmmer people’s lives are put at risk as emergency vehicles regularly get held up in traffic. The traffic congestion can and is witnessed every day by people who travel through Maesycwmmer.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The decision not to fund the highway improvement at Maesycwmmer was due to community concerns and questions about its value for money. It is open to the local authority to discuss with us whether a scheme can be developed that is affordable and which also addresses community concerns.”Follow @CaerphillyObsvr