Traffic 'still a problem' despite Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr road works
WORK to ease congestion around the new Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr hospital was completed last week but, it has been claimed that the failure to carry out additional work is putting lives at risk.
Around £14 million has been spent since work started in 2009, with three phases creating a new bridge to the Ystrad Mynach facility, roundabouts re-configured and a new link road built.
However, Plaid Cymru councillor Rob Gough said that due to over 25,000 vehicles passing through Maesycwmmer each day, emergency vehicles are still regularly being held up on the A472.
Caerphilly council wanted a fourth phase of work completed. This would have seen around 200 yards of road through the village dualled - the £15.6 million cost would have been met by a £9 million transport grant and a £6.6 million contribution from the Aneurin Bevan Health Board.
The local authority’s head of engineering, Terry Shaw, said the work would improve traffic flow, pedestrian crossings, bus stops and parking.
However, the plan met with fierce opposition from locals and a 1,000-name petition was handed to the local authority, saying it would change the way of life in the village. Maesycwmmer councillor Robin Woodyatt campaigned strongly against it, saying the move would push the pinch point further down the road, making it more difficult for motorists to turn on to Thomas Street or towards Pengam and create far more traffic in the village.
The local authority’s funding bid from the Welsh Government subsequently proved unsuccessful.
Cllr Gough called this "foolhardy and dangerous".
He said: "Due to the traffic congestion through Maesycwmmer people’s lives are put at risk as emergency vehicles regularly get held up in traffic."
But, Islwyn AM Gwyn Price, who campaigned with Cllr Woodyatt said plans to dual the A472 through the village "made absolutely no sense" and welcomed the decision to reject funding earlier this year.
He said plans for the controversial fourth phase had been drawn up without taking into account the views of local people and praised the Welsh Government for listening to their views.
Caerphilly council’s leader Harry Andrews helped mark the official completion of the three phases of work last week.
He thanked locals for their patience while work was ongoing, adding the improvements will "help improve the highway network at this busy location".