Welsh Government launches its “Vision for North Wales” which includes a new bridge over the A494!
The Welsh Government has published it’s ‘vision’ for the North East Wales Metro project aimed at providing integrated transport links across the region.
Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates launched ‘Moving North Wales Forward – Our Vision for North Wales and the North East Wales Metro’ – today which outlines proposals aimed at connecting people, communities and businesses to jobs, facilities and services across the region.
Part of the ‘Vision for an Integrated Transport Network’ includes road transport improvements across the region.
For Deeside, these includes the much publicised public consultation on the A494 corridor improvements, it is set to launch later this month.
A package of measures will be considered aimed at combating congestion on the key A494/A55 strategic link into north Wales, a preferred route is expected to be announced before end of 2017.
The document published today reveals an interesting snippet of information, in a section sub headed “Highway schemes currently being developed”
Number 5 states; ‘A494 River Dee Bridge Improvement, provision of a new bridge which will allow an upgrade of the existing bridge which is in poor structural condition.’
The only previous reference to a new bridge is in the A494 consultation document under the blue route proposal.
It says “Widening the A55/A494 route and replacement road bridge crossing the River Dee, if current bridge is insufficient.”
There’s no mention of a bridge ‘replacement’ on the red route proposal as it uses the A548 Flintshire Bridge.
Has the Welsh Government predetermined the outcome of the upcoming consultation? It remains to be seen.
Brexit will mean it’s more important than ever to have good connections to markets across the Wales – England border says Mr Skates.
The north Wales economy is expected to double by 2040, and growth is strongly linked to north west England and so called Northern Powerhouse.
Gridlock free cross-border routes to Deeside and north east Wales are vital for road freight transport, particularly for freight between mainland Europe, England and Ireland.
Rail schemes, the ‘vision’ document says are currently being developed include;
Integrated transport hubs and improved rail access in Deeside with improved access by rail, bus and active travel to key employment sites in Deeside.
Line speed improvements on the Wrexham- Bidston line with the “development of options to facilitate faster and more reliable rail journeys.”
Direct rail services to Liverpool via Halton Curve and the development of services between North Wales and Liverpool via Liverpool Airport using a re-opened Halton Curve.
Economy Secretary Ken Skates said:
Modernising the transport network across North Wales and delivery of an integrated North East Wales Metro are key priorities for the Welsh Government.
They will provide a fantastic platform to deliver sustainable economic development, connecting people, communities and business to employment, services, facilities and markets through reliable, resilient infrastructure.
There is huge potential to deliver increased economic growth in North Wales. A modern, high quality integrated transport system is fundamental to achieving that potential and I am committed to working to make that a reality.”
The ‘Vision for North Wales’ has been slammed as a missed opportunity by Welsh Conservatives who say the Economy Secretary for failing to make tangible progress on the north Wales Growth Deal.
North Wales spokesman, Mark Isherwood, described today’s statement as a “smokescreen”. He said;
This announcement is a smokescreen for the Welsh Government’s failure to deliver what the region really needs, which is meaningful progress on the North Wales Growth Deal.
Conferring greater powers on North Wales is a crucial and necessary step to reinvigorating the North Wales economy, yet the Welsh Government appears reluctant to put more power in the hands of local people.
That’s why this statement feels like such a missed opportunity. Ultimately, an economy stands no chance of growing unless there is proper infrastructure to support it.
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